Eagle County approves $398,000 for land swap | VailDaily.com

Eagle County approves $398,000 for land swap

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The Eagle County commissioners approved $398,925 Tuesday to help fund a five-party land swap, calling the agreement “an unprecedented bang for the buck.”

The deal ” which is far from finalized ” would protect more than 2,100 acres of open space between Edwards and Eagle-Vail from future development.

Eight pieces of land would change hands between the town of Avon, the State Land Board, the U.S. Forest Service and Eagle County, if the deal goes through. The majority of the land will be protected by conservation easements held by the land trust, while other spots will be protected by the Forest Service. All of the land will be open and accessible to the public.

The money approved by the commissioners Tuesday will be used to fund reports and appraisals required by the Forest Service to proceed with the deal. Avon is contributing $129,975 toward the project.

Commissioners Sara Fisher and Peter Runyon praised the project.

“I’m convinced,” said Fisher. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Runyon said the land involved in the exchange is worth an estimated $100,000 an acre, making the total exchange worth more than $200 million.

“The investment of half a million to get $200 million seems pretty clear ” it’s an unprecedented bang for the buck for the citizens,” Runyon said. “Yes, there is a risk the whole thing could blow up, but the potential reward for me is well worth it.”

Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe and Cindy Cohagen, executive director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust, both spoke in favor of the project prior to the commissioners’ vote.

Cohagen called the project one of the most creative land efforts the state has seen.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will permanently protect the land,” Cohagen said.

Wolfe ” who estimated the deal would result in a $289 per acre cost ” said the swap would be a historic accomplishment for everyone involved.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism