After 30 years, developer finally building
Vail, CO, Colorado
EAGLE ” For more than 30 years, Adam’s Rib has been a polarizing issue for Eagle.
First conceived by St. Louis, Mo.-based developer Fred Kummer as a ski and golf resort running from just south of Eagle nearly to the old mining town of Fulford, Adam’s Rib for a time split the town.
On one side stood a dedicated group of community activists, the Concerned Citizens of Eagle County. Group members worked to kill various Adam’s Rib development
proposals. On the other side stood an equally committed group of community residents who supported Kummer’s vision for the Brush Creek Valley.
Years after those heated debates, Adam’s Rib Ranch, a relatively small, gated, golf-course community about six miles up Brush Creek, quietly will become a reality.
Plans for the ski area died in 2000 when Kummer agreed to sell 1,782 acres along the east and west branches of Brush Creek to Colorado State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Today, most of that land makes up Sylvan Lake State Park. The Forest Service owns Yeoman Park and Vassar Meadow on East Brush Creek.
Kummer still owns a lot of property in the lower Brush Creek Valley. For now, though, only Adam’s Rib Ranch is making progress. And the man who once fought tooth and nail to preserve large density numbers for his ski resort development, now offers a vastly different vision.
“After 25 years, Adam’s Rib Ranch, home of Adam’s Mountain Country Club, has proved the perfect project for the Brush Creek area,” Kummer said.
According to the promotional materials, Adam’s Rib Ranch is “an exclusive resort community offering 99 spacious home sites stretching over 1,600 acres and surrounded by vast, protected wild lands.”
Still, some Eagle-area residents see the gated community as a stark contrast to Eagle’s open neighborhoods.
“Of course we dislike that it’s a gated community,” said retired dentist Jerry Fedrizzi, one of the founding members of the Concerned Citizens. “I think we won the war. He won a small victory.”
Fedrizzi’s sentiments are common among longtime foes of Adam’s Rib. Opponents of the development note there is no ski area in the Brush Creek Valley, and the density at the ranch property is relatively low.
For others, however, the saga of Adam’s Rib is the story of lost opportunities.
Local real estate broker Fred Butler sees a lost opportunity when he thinks about the Adam’s Rib golf course plan that Eagle rejected nearly a decade ago.
“I thought that development was first class. It would have brought a lot of ambiance, as well as water rights, to the Brush Creek Valley,” he said.
But Butler said that time has shown the ski-area plan was wrong for the area. “Ski areas are kind of maxed out,” Butler said. “Fred was right when he got off of his ski-area plan.”
As for Kummer’s remaining holdings lower on Brush Creek, Butler said he’d like to see “something more compatible with wildlife. Of course, we would all rather see it stay green and pristine. But heavens, the man pays his taxes. He should be allowed to develop his land.”
Jerry Butters of Eagle also has supported Kummer’s plans through the years. Butters believes that growth benefits the area.
“We need a critical mass of people to support the infrastructure we need,” Butters said. “The man had a vision for what this part of the valley could be like.”
Rosie Shearwood, another Adam’s Rib opponent, acknowledged that the ranch property development is a far cry from the massive plans once proposed for the valley. That doesn’t mean she’s a supporter.
“In the grand scheme of things, it was wrong for development to jump way out here,” she said. “Unless we want to see solid houses from Sylvan Lake to Eagle, people need to be vigilant.”
Springing to life
Utilities and streets are being laid in, three custom show homes and the clubhouse are under construction, and the Adam’s Rib Ranch properties are on the market. As for Kummer’s 1,100-acre lower Brush Creek property, both the Eagle Town Board and the Eagle County Commissioners are delaying review of development plans until a new Eagle Area Community Plan is finished.
But Kummer is celebrating and selling the ranch. And the man who for decades pushed his own vision for Eagle’s future has a prediction.
“I hope that Eagle will continue to experience responsible growth in the coming years,” Kummer said. “The goal for Adam’s Rib Ranch is not to promote overdevelopment and high density in the area but instead maintain open spaces and the unique feel of the community. As long as these ideals are upheld, I look forward to Eagle gaining more popularity and recognition.”
This story appeared first in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.
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