As the community searches to expand its appeal for visitors, Eagle officials are talking with their counterparts at Eagle County to see if an “urban camping” proposal has potential.
According to Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney, the idea behind Camp Eagle is to provide spots where visitors can pitch tents or park campers within easy walking or biking distance to the community’s restaurants, shops and amenities. He noted the need was first identified last fall when families connected to the Colorado State High School Biking Championships prepared to visit town. Many members of that group requested camping sites adjacent to Eagle and ultimately the town accommodated their needs by allowing weekend camping at the Brush Creek Park.
However, camping at that location is not a long term solution and Eagle isn’t the only entity searching for one. Eagle County also has camping needs for events at the fairgrounds property and that site has been identified as a early front runner for a long term urban camping development.
During a meeting last week, Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick presented a $195,000 concept plan for Camp Eagle that would include nine campsites, a host site and a group site in the area just south of the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. The proposed amenities and the estimated costs are:
Site Prep —$10,000
Driveway and site parking construction — $50,000
Electric and irrigation — $15,000
Landscaping — $20,000
Vault Toilet — $30,000
Site pads, grills, tables — $50,000
Other/contingency — $20,000
Set against those projected costs, Camp Eagle revenues are estimated at around $9,000 per year. The facility’s projected season is April 15 through Oct. 15, or 180 nights. At 80 percent occupancy and a $12 fee, the facility count generate roughly $17,000 annually, but the cost of a camp host and upkeep and maintenance, estimated at $8,000, brings the bottom line down to the $9,000 figure.
Town board reacts
“From the feedback I have gotten, people are extremely interested in having this amenity in Eagle,” said Kostick. “From my point of view, there is strong community support for this.”
Other town board members echoed that sentiment.
“I think this is a good idea, but there is a fair amount of work to wrap our arms around it,” said town board member Anne McKibbin. She noted planning for running water and sewer service rather than a vault toilet may be advisable.
“Places like this tend to become places of residence for seasonal workers. I think we will have to come up with a way to regulate that,” she added.
“Clearly we have to go into a process about how this fits in with the whole Eagle River corridor process,” said town board member Kevin Brubeck.
While town board members expressed interest in exploring an urban camping option in Eagle, they want to take a more comprehensive look at various locations. Stavney noted the board originally contemplated development of a few camping sites at the Chambers Park area near the Eagle Regional Visitor Information Center, and even allocated money in the 2014 budget to study that site.
With the county fairgrounds proposal under consideration, Stavney said the town will check out alternatives and ownership for various camping options. Once a preferred location is identified, the town will then have to budget dollars to make the amenity happen. But, he noted, the idea does have strong support on the board and in the community.
“We know there is a desire for camping close to town,” said Stavney.