Baby-boomer boom in Eagle & Gypsum?
EAGLE Take a walk on any given path around Eagle and chances are youll meet up with a mom pushing a stroller.The communitys character is dominated by young working families. Eagle is definitely representative of the county as a whole with a median age of 34 years, and 42 percent of the population in the 25 to 44 years age bracket. But the downvalley is also home to a growing number of retirees. People who have lived in Vail for years are relocating to Eagle for the milder winters. Or people are choosing the Colorado High Country rather than traditional retirement areas such as Arizona or Florida. Some folks who have lived in the community for years have simply decided to stay.Sherry Mintz, Eagle County adult services director, estimates there has been a 20 percent increase in activities for seniros. That statistic tells a lot about the character of local retirees they are people on the go.
Proximity to a world-class ski area was the key factor that brought Paulo and Susan Narduzzi from New York state to Eagle five years ago.Susan retired after teaching 33 years in the South Bronx in New York City. Paulo, 57, had a career in construction, starting out as an entry-level carpenter and ending up as a project manager. He loves skiing, and in fact had been teaching skiing since high school.I promised myself I would do that full time at a world class ski area when I got the opportunity, he says. Hes now semi-retired he teaches skiing full-time in the winter. Susan says she came out here without an specific expectations. The Narduzzis knew they wanted to be in a place that had a friendly, community-feel where people lived full-time.It was a visit to the library that sold her on Eagle.When a community has a good library, to me that is indicative of the kind of community it is, and the kind of people who would live there, she says. After renting for a while, the Narduzzis bought a home in the Terrace subdivision in Eagle. Both have become immersed in the community. Membership in Vail Club 50 set them up with an active group of friends who ski, snowshoe, bike and hike.Paulo serves on the guild for Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, which brings classical music programs to the valley June through September.Hes also a community activist, and makes a habit of attending Eagle Town Board meetings. Hes serving on the citizen committee that is revising the Eagle Area Community Plan, and works as a consultant for the developers who are proposing a large shopping project on the east edge of Eagle.To me, life is about making a difference, and doing what we can to improve things, he says.Susan started volunteering at the library, which led to some work with the Eagle County Historical Society. She volunteers for the Snowshoe Shuffle, which raises money for cancer research.Gardening had long been an interest. Since shes retired to Eagle, shes says shes become well-versed in high altitude gardening, and volunteers at the Betty Ford Gardens in Vail.Both Narduzzis find that they are continually tapped to serve in volunteer positions.I have learned to say no to some things … it is flattering initially. But then you realize what people invite you to be on boards it is because you are a worker, she says.What amenity could the community offer retired residents? Susan notes that although she didnt come here to shop, she does miss some stores. That point hit home when a road trip was necessary for a new vacuum cleaner.Im not a Wal-Mart person, but Im also not a Vail boutique person, she says. Im somewhere in the middle, she says.In her retirement to date, Susan has just one regret.Im not doing nearly enough of the reading that I want to do. Im to busy … and its great! she says.
For John and Earline Bronn the combination of nearby family, recreation and volunteer opportunities made Eagle the right spot for retirement.The Bronns have been valley residents for 22 years. Originally from Southern California, they discovered Colorado when a vacation in Hawaii fell through. The Bronns got hooked on summer in the High Country. Fortunately, John was launching his own management consulting business. The couple relocated to a home on Lake Creek.Eventually, the Bronns moved to Homestead, to a house built by son-in-law Ed Coulter, of Eagle. But from they day they moved in, a neighbor said he wanted to buy them out. As they considered retirement, they took him up on that offer and moved down to Eagle.We had considered Grand Junction, but it is so hot, it gets just as cold, and it isnt as pretty, says Earline.Weighing in Eagles favor was the presence of the couples children son Steve and daughter Stacey both live in Eagle; while son David lives in Gypsum. The Bronns regularly attend grandchildrens sporting events and enjoy lots of family outings. But they also find plenty of time to pursue their own interests.John is vice president of the Eagle County Historical Society, an avid gardener, and a guest services volunteer at Beaver Creek. I have always loved history but I always approached it as an observer, he says. When the Bronns attended a reception honoring friend Frank Doll, John filled out a volunteer application and was soon put to work actually preserving history.A couple of years ago, John compiled a photo database of Eagles original buildings. He has since added historical information about the structures. He loves to organize things … and he has given up on me, Earline says.John has also completed various fix-up projects at the Eagle County Historical Society Museum in Eagle. Basically, he tries to do what needs to be done, or find someone else who can do it. His other fix-up project is a personal one. He is restoring an 1978 Triumph Spitfire. The Coulter kids think that car will look great in a homecoming parade, Earline says.Earline volunteers at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center information desk. She is also an avid quilter and crocheter. I also volunteer a lot of hauling the grandchildren around. Id rather do that than anything, she says.The Bronns are enjoying a physically active retirement. We like to walk all the great paths around Eagle. Id say they are 100 percent better than in Edwards, said Earline. Its just beautiful and its just going to get better.She attends exercise classes at the Golden Eagle Senior Center, where the couple frequent the Active Minds senior speaker series. When they consider amenities theyd like to see in Eagle, the Bronns are excited about the planned construction of new tennis courts near the pool and ice rink complex. They also know that the community needs to expand its senior citizens services. Eagle will need an assisted-living center before too long, says Earline. I know several people from the senior center who have ended up having to move to Carbondale or Glenwood.
When you live in a place so long, you dont want to start over somewhere else. If you do that, who will come to your funeral? asks Patty Dorf.
For the past 38 years, the Dorfs have lived in Eagle County. Bob Dorf is a well-known Vail area real estate broker. Patty has, among other jobs, owned a travel agency and an antique shop. While they had always enjoyed their Lake Creek home with its extensive garden, the Dorfs were ready to cut back on their outside workload. That yard was 14 years in the making and we were tired, Bob says. We saw Eagle Ranch as a good real estate opportunity.Like the Bronns, the Dorfs followed an adult child to the community. Daughter Heather Rawlings and her family also live at Eagle Ranch. The areas attraction will only increase when son Erik and his family relocate to Breckenridge later this year. Additionally, Pattys father lives in Grand Junction.Bob is still actively working in real estate, and he doesnt think he will ever completely retire. But living in Eagle has given the couple the opportunity to spend more time with grandchildren and to pursue more interests. Not that their interests are all that leisurely. Bob enjoys playing hockey and golf. Both Dorfs take their two dogs for daily walks. If your dogs are fat, you arent getting enough exercise, says Bob.What they would like to see in Eagle? The Dorfs say theyd like to see a large indoor recreation center and a pedestrian oriented downtown with specially shops such as a gourmet deli and a bakery.The Dorfs noted that many of their long-time friends are discovering Eagle. Residents on their block include two other Vail transplants who cite milder winters and the communitys small town atmosphere as reasons for their relocation.But the communitys attraction isnt just the retirement age group. Its fun to be around young people, Bob explains. And, he noted, all it takes is a trip outside of Eagle County to remind him why he choose to live here and stay here. He recently traveled back to his home state, New Jersey, to visit his mother.That part of the world truly makes you appreciate what we have here, he says.