Beyond purse for open space |

Beyond purse for open space

Don RogersDaily Managing Editor

The new Eagle County Board of Commissioners has its work cut out for it Thursday when the commissioners decide whether to commit $6 million toward the purchase of the 72-acre Eaton Ranch in Edwards for open space.The $6 million amounts to twice the annual earnings of the county’s open space tax fund, and the fund has roughly $3.8 million available this year. That’s not quite enough to meet the amount the Vail Valley Foundation seeks to continue to hold its option on the land for a year while trying to raise $12 million by Sept. 5 for the full purchase.New Commissioner Peter Runyon and re-elected Commissioner Arn Menconi, now chairman, ran on platforms of “smart growth.” Both also have worked hard on the preservation effort for this parcel.Trouble is, it’s not clear that it would be all that smart to empty the county open space bank and then grab over $2 million more from the general fund with the county’s other commitments and needs. Think child care center, fairgrounds event center, airport road improvements, and so on.There’s also a potential issue with an appraisal of the property falling below Bruce Eaton’s asking price of $12 million. He can ask for – and possibly get – all that he wants. And word is that developers are ready to swoop back in with another $12 million offer. But what to do with an appraisal of, say, $8 million or $9 million? Does that even matter? Politically, perhaps.It should be quite a discussion.Getting it rightDon Rogers was directionally challenged in his column Monday when referring to Merv Lapin’s Red Mountain Ranch commercial and residential development he would like to build east of Eagle, not west as appeared in the column.Vail, Colorado

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