Busy paramedics want third station | VailDaily.com

Busy paramedics want third station

Nicole Frey
Special to the DailyThe Eagle County Ambulance District, which wants a station in Avon, responds to emergencies between Vail Pass and Wolcott.

AVON In the middle of a heart attack, five minutes is a lifetime. Getting paramedics to a victim five minutes faster could be the difference between life and death. That’s how members of the Eagle County Health Services District feel. The district manages the ambulance stations in Vail and Edwards, but they sure could use a third, they say. It’s why they’ve been clamoring for an ambulance station in Avon since 1998, said Fred Morrison, director of the district.When developer Traer Creek – the same developer responsible for installing Wal-Mart and The Home Depot – offered to donate some land for an ambulance station in Avon, it looked, for a moment, like everything would work out.”Our services would definitely be enhanced if we were in Avon,” Morrison said. “We’re busy enough to need it. We’d hit a critical mass with our calls and where the new station would be positioned. It’s a time thing.”The site is ideal, Morrison said. It’s close to Interstate 70, which cuts response time off to the most remote parts of the district and even to locations west of Edwards, where one station already exists. “It’s quick to Eagle-Vail, gives us better times to Wildridge, Avon proper, Minturn and shaves about five minutes off our time to Dowd Junction,” Morrison said.

But it wasn’t as simple as just giving the land to a needy and worthy group. More than just philanthropy, business was involved. And Magnus Lindholm, president of Traer Creek, was primed to play hard ball. Presenting a proposal to the Avon Town Council late last year, Traer Creek representatives said the developer would give the ambulance district land for a station if, and only if, a proposed school was moved and a site for a fire station could be nailed down.After submitting this proposal late last year, Traer Creek took it off the table in order to further discuss it with Avon’s Town Council but has yet to submit a new request. While Avon sees the move as normal operating procedure, Lindholm thinks the process is slow going because of personal reasons. Lindholm maintains he’s trying his best to come up with a fair deal for everyone involved, but “we basically got a cold hand from Avon.””I don’t know what they’re amenable to,” he said. Lindholm claims the opposition to his deal comes from two people on council – Tamra Nottingham Underwood and Kristi Ferraro. He contends the councilwomen are opposed to his deal because of Lindholm’s plans to build a discount gas station at the Village at Avon, which would compete with the Shell gas station in Edwards, he said. The discount gas station is not part of the ambulance proposal. Lindholm said Ferraro’s husband has interests in the Edwards gas station. Ferraro did not return Vail Daily phone calls, and Underwood could not be reached for comment.However, Avon spokeswoman Jacquie Halburnt said the town has nothing against Traer Creek.”We’re not trying to be acrimonious, we’re just trying to get all the information to make sure it’s a good project for Avon,” she said. “We like Magnus, and we like everyone at Traer Creek.”

As the days go by, the ambulance district can do nothing but wait anxiously, said Dr. Larry Brooks, who helped found the ambulance district and is the president of its board of directors. . “There’s no reason why political agenda should hold up care of patients,” Brooks said. “There’s no ending in sight. If it’s pure people not liking somebody else, that’s OK when you’re talking about a parking spot, but when you’re holding back care for patients … that’s when people start to suffer.”The ambulance district has already hired an architect to design the new station and has a work crew waiting to start work.”We’re ready to build on it as soon as we can,” Morrison said.

Lindholm could file a separate proposal for just the land for the ambulance station, but he’s not willing to do this.”I can’t do that,” he said. “I don’t want to spend a lot of money to file multiple times. I think we do our fair share when we give half an acre that would cost a million dollars. I offered the land to (the ambulance district) because it’s the right thing to do. They have a very important function in this community. The ambulance district asked to buy it, and I said, ‘I’m going to give it to you.'”While the district isn’t eager to get involved in business between Avon and Traer Creek, it may become necessary the get the station they so badly need.”If we have to get into the fray … I guess that’s what we have to do,” Brooks said. “We’re just trying to do our job. Traer Creek was generous enough to offer this property to the district. We would like to proceed.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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