EAGLE — Featuring a mix of update and outlook, the Eagle Chamber of Commerce hosted its second Eagle 20/20 session on Wednesday night.
On the update side, participants heard information about the Eby Creek Road construction project and the recent personnel changes for the town. Under the outlook heading, the topics included the proposed Castle Peak Senior Care facility and other potential growth scenarios.
And then, when the talking was over, the socializing began as participants redeemed drink coupons and gathered for informal discussion at the Dusty Boot.
Six months ago, the Eagle chamber hosted its first 20/20 session for a packed house at town hall. Attendance fell off a bit on Wednesday, but a crowd numbering more than 60 local residents turned out for the evening’s presentation.
Eby Creek Road project
Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick launched the evening with an update of Eagle’s Eby Creek Road project. “We obviously are all aware of it. We drive through it every day,” said Kostick.
He noted construction is slated to continue through November and by the end of this season’s construction schedule, the new roundabouts at the eastbound and westbound Interstate 70 approaches should be completed.
“The Chambers Avenue roundabout is a very comprehensive project,” said Kostick, noting that part of the work will be tackled during 2014. He also noted the new pedestrian bridge over I-70 will be completed next year.
“We think that bridge is going to be a fantastic first impression for the town of Eagle,” Kostick said.
Castle Peak Senior Care
As the discussion turned to future projects, Jill Klosterman from Eagle County outlined the latest activity regarding the Castle Peak Senior Care Community.
The project is planned at a 5-acre Eagle Ranch site located just north of Brush Creek Elementary School. The 64-bed first phase proposal includes 20 assisted living beds, 20 skilled nursing beds, 12 memory care beds and 10 transitional or rehabilitation care beds.
The proposal reflects a partnership between the county and Augustana Care, a Minnesota-based firm that develops and operates senior care facilities. Klosterman said while the county has purchased the site and will provide some of the construction funding for the center, Augustana will own and operate the facility.
“We don’t have a place for our seniors to go when they need care. This is a project that makes our community whole,” said Klosterman. “The demand for it is here.”
She shared statistics showing that in 2010, there were approximately 6,250 seniors residing in Eagle County (ages 60-plus) But by 2020, that number is expected to grow to nearly 14,000. Additionally, she cited a Colorado State University study that estimates the economic effect of seniors leaving Eagle County due to a lack of housing at $43 million per year.
Klosterman said the next steps for the Castle Peak Senior Care Community are to secure the financial commitment from USDA Rural Development. A fundraising campaign is under way to help bridge the project’s financing gap.
After that, the town of Eagle will complete a development plan review. Optimistically, Klosterman said ground-breaking for the project could happen next spring.
Jon Stavney, Eagle’s new town manager continued the meeting’s overall theme by highlighting the community’s past successes and laying out its future challenges.
He noted that in a 2004 community survey, Eagle residents supported redevelopment of the downtown area. That happened, he noted, with the $5 million Broadway streetscape project. But he also pointed out a “painful fact” that the redevelopment has only produced one new building.
“How do we encourage legacy owners to invest and make a vibrant central business district?” Stavney asked.
Other projects on the horizon
He also highlighted capital needs and large projects on the horizon for Eagle — everything from the Eagle River Station commercial plan near I-70 to the Haymeadow resident project proposed in the Brush Creek Valley.
“What is our vision after going forward for building on our strengths, our investments?” asked Stavney. “I am asking the question, not answering it. How will you play a part in Eagle’s future?”
“We don’t have a place for our seniors to go when they need care. This is a project that makes our community whole.”