Open house process launches long-term planning for Eagle River corridor
November 6, 2014
The community as well as the county reflect the name of this area's most vital natural resource.
Yet in reality, the Eagle River corridor is not a well integrated part of the Eagle community. In the future, that will change if a process launched last week proceeds to fruition.
Connecting the town with the Eagle River emerged as a major planning goal at a planning work session attended by members of the Eagle Planning Commission, Eagle Town Board and town staff in January of this year. The Eagle River Corridor Sub Area Plan, to be incorporated as a component of the town's comprehensive plan, will include chapters on land use, trails, roads, open space, river recreation, parks and conservation. The extent of the river corridor, which is the primary focus of the effort, is from the town's eastern growth boundary located approximately two miles east of the Eby Creek Roundabout to the town's wastewater facility on the west. The plan will include a chapter prepared in coordination with town of Gypsum that presents a riverfront path system linking the two towns and an in-stream recreational amenities program for the Eagle River as it flows through the planning area of both towns.
With assistance from staff at the Sonoran Institute, the town inaugurated a comprehensive visioning process for the river corridor with a two-day open charrette last week. During the session, citizens were invited to drop by town hall to talk about their ideas for the corridor. According to Clark Anderson, director of the Western Colorado Legacy Program for the Sonoran Institute, a team of land use professionals on site for the event then translated those ideas into workable, albeit conceptual, plans.
Anderson said the session produced a number of goals for any long term corridor planning. He noted comments from community members revealed a number of priorities including:
Securing the long term environmental health of the river.
Creation of economic activity along the corridor including both retail and residential uses.
Provision of direct access to the corridor from the existing town.
Creation of pedestrian-friendly trail along the corridor.
Additionally, Anderson said residents are interested in creation of a riverfront park with direct access on the south side of U.S. Highway 6 as well as a whitewater park along the stretch of river that runs from Chambers Park to the Eagle County Fairgrounds.
Anderson noted that the Sonoran Institute is partnering with the town to conduct the Eagle River Corridor plan, but the group is not a paid consultant for the work. Rather, the partnership reflects the institute's mission to work with communities to develop policies and encourage decisions respecting the land and the people of western North America.
On a personal level, Anderson noted that he grew up in the Edwards area and spent many hours working as a fly fishing guide along the Eagle River.
"It's really fun to be here in Eagle," he said.