Editorial: Let’s get this done, already
Vail CO, Colorado
Not many people know about it, but the dance between Eagle County, the town of Eagle and the U.S. Forest Service is one of the longest-running sagas in the valley.
Eagle town officials have for years coveted some of the property the Forest Service owns just south of U.S. Highway 6 just east of Corky’s gas station. The town wants to build a road connection between the highway and the Bull Pasture subdivision.
Eagle needs more ways to get residents from the town’s interior to the highway, so the road would be a good thing.
Eagle County, meanwhile, has long wanted to redevelop property it owns in the area. That land used to be the road and bridge department headquarters, which has for years now been operating out of Gypsum.
Finally, the Forest Service has long wanted to upgrade its 1950s vintage headquarters downtown, but hasn’t wanted to give up its property near the highway unless it could get a similar parcel on which to graze its horses (which remain important tools in managing our backcountry).
Now, there’s a plan that might successfully move the Forest Service’s offices and pastures to the Eagle County Fairgrounds, give the county a chance to build affordable housing on the old road and bridge site, and provide the town with the right-of-way it needs to run a road from the highway out to Brush Creek Road.
Any one government agency moves slowly enough. It can take months, or longer, to get fairly simple contracts hammered out between local government. Throw a federal agency into the mix, and a sedated tortoise starts to look like an Olympic sprinter in comparison.
We won’t hold our breath, but this is a deal that needs to get done. There’s enough public need on all three sides of this red tape-wrapped triangle that we hope the parties can hammer out an arrangement before these officials’ kids have to finish the job.