Donna Meyer: Eagle project is too risky
I read Kim Bradley’s article about being pro Eagle River Station and disagree with her on all points except that all Eagle residents need to educate themselves on Eagle River Station. I believe everyone who thinks it’s a good project really needs to educate themselves better and be “forward thinking” in seeing that there are no benefits for 20-plus years, if any. In 20-plus years, if Eagle River Station gets built, it will need a facelift that will cost more money and we won’t know how many stores will have come and gown by then. In strip malls (and Eagle River Station is one) stores come and go all the time.
This 575,000-square-foot big box, “urban” retail development will have stores (whoever they are) that need sales associates who will make lower salaries than specialty ma and pa shops. The developers think they have made great strides in scaling down the project, but Eagle River Station is still massive. It’s got 65-foot heights, has 580 condos and very little open space. There are 3,800 parking spaces ” that’s a lot of asphalt!
I do not believe the developers have been totally truthful. We have asked many questions that have never been answered, like where their 1,700 employees would come from. Making a comparison to large cities is not truthful either. L’il ol’ Eagle is not Kansas City. They have said they have never phased a project ” untrue ” this can be seen on their Web site. They have promised certain retailers like Nordstroms and Whole Foods ” we need to see letters of intent.
Eagle’s Planning and Zoning Commission twice voted no to Eagle River Station ” after two years of hearings. They had numerous good reasons. Saying that Eagle River Station complies is poor judgment and a slap in the face to the planning commission. Loss of small town character was No. 1 to them. Kim’s idea of quality of life and small town living is having a mega mall in our backyard, and is not my idea of those two things and it’s not the vision of most people I’ve talked to who moved here to live in a small town with less people and less traffic.
Maybe Kim thinks I am not forward thinking. If saving a historic ranching/agricultural town from sprawl and corporate takeover is not forward thinking, then I am proud to be backwards. We need to maintain the ranching heritage for Eagle and for Eagle County. We can do plenty that is forward thinking ” there are all sorts of possibilities to fix up what we have, concentrate on building on land that is already surrounded by development, do more events that make money, get people to invest in more high-tech industry and help the folks who own businesses here stay in business.
The finances are the scariest thing because we know nothing. Kim mentioned projections, but there is no proof for them. I have talked to financial experts who say we’d get a million a year in revenue ” if we’re lucky. Nobody knows what we’d make! We don’t know who’s coming, how many people will shop there and who will stay in business. Malls and strip centers are going out of business and tenants are breaking leases all over. We see articles every day about how there is no workforce here. I work in high-end retail and know how hard it is to retain employees in even a high-paying store. We haven’t seen the real deal yet and we are supposed to share the cost on a lot of infrastructure that will take up sales tax revenue for 20-plus years. Hedge funds all over are crumbling. By the time we see any money, Eagle River Station will be a dinosaur. At my age, I’ll be long gone.
Eagle River Station is not the legacy that the town trustees should leave for the community.
Let’s remember that Trinity/RED are developers. None of the RED guys live here and they are in business to make money for themselves. I am a member of the Citizens for the Future of Eagle. I want my neighbors to come to meetings and be informed. For more info, go to http://www.citizens4eagle.com.
Donna Meyer is an Eagle Ranch resident.
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