Eagle is no urban area | VailDaily.com

Eagle is no urban area

Jan Rosenthal Townsend
Vail CO, Colorado

We, the Citizens for the Future of Eagle are aware that there has been the formation of another Citizens Group in Eagle, called Eye on Eagle. We’d like to address Fred Schmidt and Jay Willoughby.

In that article, you expressed that you are “proponents of growth” and pro-Eagle River Station, and you explained that you are both newcomers to Eagle Ranch and came from large cities. When speaking about the business climate in this valley, we have to take into careful consideration that the dynamics, the population and business tempo are totally different in a large city than in a small mountain town like Eagle.

We are delighted that you love Eagle as much as we do and as I said during the course of the amicable conversation we had, we, at the Citizens for the Future of Eagle welcome your thoughts and ideas. I made the mention that your platform totally mirrors our group’s visioning statement, which was formulated months ago, and disseminated to the Eagle Area Community Plan committee, The Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, the town, the county and numerous citizens. It was also touched upon in a recent article in the Vail Daily. Since you are new to the community, it’s important for you (and others) to know that we not only initiated these points as “smart” growth ideas, but that some of the newer ideas are already being discussed in great detail with various agencies. Some have actually been in the works for years and are already being successfully implemented with the Chamber of Commerce taking the lead. To reiterate, we stated that we, as a community, “can create economic vitality and stimulate sales tax revenues while maintaining a small-town atmosphere and our sense of community” ” irrespective of Eagle River Station. Plus, we don’t believe that Eagle River Station should be the funding mechanism for downtown or other retail centers in Eagle.

Some of the initial ideas include expansion and in-fill development in downtown and along the Highway 6 corridor, development of affordable housing in the proper place, small- and large-scale events, various sport meets and criterions with WECMRD being a partner as they have been for years. For example, the Teva Mountain Games in Vail has brought 7,000 people and generated $2 million in a matter of only three days. Wouldn’t some similar event, held in Eagle, be an enormous boost to our town coffers? We would also like to creatively work with developers and builders to do infill for areas that we already have, but have not yet realized their full potential (i.e., Chambers Avenue).

At the moment, there are numerous upcoming events and sports-oriented functions being planned by the chamber and WECMRD and we, the Citizens for the Future of Eagle, have very recently found and have been working with a renowned, national retail consultant to help us identify the best needs/goals for downtown expansion and to help strengthen the other five retail areas in Eagle. An urban renewal authority, which you are suggesting as a funding mechanism for downtown, is only one of several financial instruments available to create funding. From what we have been told by various experts, urban renewal authorities are not the best option for a small town (thus the name “urban renewal”). They are typically used for extremely blighted, run-down areas of “urban” areas.

A business improvement district is a much better option for our specific needs and is a proven method at maintaining, managing and marketing downtowns and business districts. In addition to working on creating a business improvement district (or something similar) for downtown, it is our hope to establish more cooperation between Eagle and Gypsum to create a “corridor of commerce” from west Eagle to Gypsum. There is so much potential there. We are encouraged by the chamber’s lead on this and look forward to all of us working together to achieve these goals. Please join us in these efforts!

So all in all, we welcome you (and other newcomers) to our charming, small town and hope that irrespective of our views on Eagle River Station, we can all find common ground and work together to make Eagle even a better place in which to work and live in. We have many great ideas already starting to take shape and invite all to share in this exciting time in the history of our historic town ” the town that we call home.

Jan Rosenthal Townsend writes on behalf of the Citizens for the Future of Eagle. To share your thoughts about Eagle, e-mail noboxineagle@aol.com.

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