Eagle County mulls $1.6M land purchase
EAGLE, Colorado – For generations, a large auto salvage yard has dominated the western entrance to Eagle. In the near future, a riverfront park may take its place.
Next Tuesday, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners will consider approval of a $1.6 million purchase of the Eagle Auto Recycling and Towing property in west Eagle. The 7.5 acre parcel is located north of U.S. Highway 6 and south of the Eagle River at the west entrance to Eagle. The property has been used as an auto salvage yard for the last several decades and has long been sought as an open space acquisition by Eagle County.
Eagle County staff and current owners Ralph and Sherrie Seago have discussed the property sale for years. The county intends to use a portion of the property to construct a secondary access to its fairground complex. The remaining portion of the Seago property, at the confluence of the Eagle River and Brush Creek, would be preserved as open space and would be accessible by the public for fishing and other recreational opportunities
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Seagos to improve the access and increase the safety of our fairgrounds for all our citizens,” said Commissioner Jon Stavney. “The timing was just right for them to retire and for the county to be able to look at future improvements at the fairgrounds.”
As the deal has developed, town of Eagle also has indicated its willingness to be part of the deal. While an intergovernmental agreement must be finalized, the town has conceptually agreed to pony up about 10 percent of the purchase price.
“We are very excited to be able to participate with the county,” said Eagle Mayor Ed Woodland. “I believe the property price is fair, given that it has such amazing access to the Eagle River and Brush Creek.”
Woodland said the deal includes 1,800 feet of riverfront access and the parcel is being planned as “useable open space.” Additionally, he noted the deal stipulates that the Seagos will clean up the auto salvage operation prior to purchase.
“It’s going to be a good thing for everyone,” said Sherrie Seago. “We have always thought the property was better than what it’s been used for.”
The Seagos purchased the property back in 1978 and at that time, it had an already established, long-time auto salvage operation at the site.
“This has been a long time coming and it has been a pleasure to work with the county on it,” said Seago.
The land purchase is the latest step in a series of improvements planned for the Eagle County Fairgrounds. In 2010, Eagle County finalized an agreement with Lafarge to relocate existing ball fields at the fairgrounds to allow for gravel mining. Completion of the effort, which is anticipated to take five to 10 years, will allow the county to finalize master planning of the entire site.
“Acquiring this property serves two very valuable purposes. Not only will it provide the land necessary for a much needed second access into our fairgrounds, but it will also provide the public with access to what will become one of the most scenic spots on the Eagle River,” said Commissioner Peter Runyon.
“We have directed our staff to move this project forward in hopes that we can close this spring or summer. It will be a very exciting property to add to our open space portfolio,” said Commissioner Sara Fisher.
The purchase will be made through a combination of funding sources, including the county’s dedicated Open Space and Capital Improvement Project funds. Upon ratification of the purchase agreement, the county will approach the Open Space Advisory Committee for open space funding. The agreement indicates a transfer of the property will occur in late spring, providing that results from environmental testing are satisfactory.