Vail Daily letter: Eagle-Vail’s broken promise
Ryan Summerlin May 23, 2013
For those of you who didn’t attend the Eagle-Vail Community Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, May 16, I want to share with you what board members discussed regarding what’s left of the very last of the 5A funds.
In a nutshell, unless the community of Eagle-Vail comes forward, the majority of board members said they could not support spending any money on improvements to the tennis courts, contrary to promises made in 2009, When the board held up improvements to the tennis courts as a beneficiary of funds, if the community supported passage of 5A to increase the mill levy.
A little background: Back in early 2009, the board held a series of community meetings during which we were informed that they’d hired several agencies to conduct comprehensive studies of every aspect of our community, from the condition of the community’s buildings, right down to the doorknobs, according to John Nichols, then chairman of the Eagle-Vail Metro District, to our parks and to the existing amenities, including the golf course and the tennis courts.
These experts then provided the board with a plan outlining when certain actions should be taken through 2027 to keep present Eagle-Vail community assets in good working order and how much it would cost.
Armed with these studies, the board lobbied heavily to pass 5A to generate $7 million to shore up the balance sheet, replace the existing pool, and improve tennis and golf amenities, which was outlined in writing at these community meetings and at the Eagle-Vail annual meeting.
On that pretext, the bill was passed.
So far, we’ve paid for a new public swimming pool, we’ve funded improvements to the public golf course, and we’ve implemented new signage. None of which I consider true amenities, given they are not exclusive to the Eagle-Vail community, and not only have we paid to build them, but we are paying to maintain them, as well as paying a use fee, albeit with small discounts over what the public pays.
The tennis courts are the one amenity that are free and exclusive to the Eagle-Vail community.
Of the 5A funds, $50,000 has been set aside for three years now to improve the tennis courts.
But nothing has been done despite the fact that a recent survey conducted by the board itself showed that 75 percent of the Eagle Vail community indicated that they would use the tennis courts if improvements were made to them.
During the meeting, board members called the tennis courts a “blight on the Eagle-Vail community” and spending “good money after bad” on repairs that had a life expectancy of only a few years.
I call it bait and switch.
It was suggested the money might better be spent connecting the Vail bike path with the Edwards bike path, but that currently ends in Eagle-Vail through Avon.
Quite frankly, I don’t play tennis and wouldn’t miss the tennis courts if they were gone, and I am a bicyclist. However, it reeks of arrogance the board’s disregard for the people in this community who supported passage of 5A on the premise of improvements to the tennis courts.
The board may not have a fiduciary responsibility to reach out via blast emails, or on its website and on its Facebook page to garner community input on this issue, but I believe it’s a matter of trust that the board honors its commitments or informs us otherwise via as many methods as it used to urge us to support 5A.
It’s the right and community thing to do.