Edwards, the ‘town that isn’t a town’ | VailDaily.com

Edwards, the ‘town that isn’t a town’

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoThe Greater Edwards Task Force is a coalition of smaller agencies that works on traffic and other issues in the unincorporated area.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Ask some Edwards residents if they have ever heard of the Greater Edwards Task Force, and most likely you’ll get a blank stare.

“I’ve never heard of them,” said Cordillera resident Mckenzie Curran.

“I think they have something to do with the roundabouts,” guessed Singletree resident Mary Harp.

The task force is a group of representatives from the Edwards area metro districts who meet monthly to discuss traffic, and meet with officials from the county and other municipalities.

“They’re the unknown, unofficial town board. They’re really a board of boards,” County Commissioner Peter Runyon said.

The task force includes representatives from the Edwards, Berry Creek, Arrowhead, Lake Creek and Cordillera metro districts. Edwards is an unincorporated area, meaning it is run by Eagle County and does not have its own services or municipal government.

The task force gives Edwards a unified voice when it comes to community issues, said Ken Marchetti, the group’s facilitator.

While the group is informal now, it is going through the process of legally becoming the Edwards Community Authority. But regardless of name, the group’s members said they feel they have gotten much done in improving the Edwards community.

“It makes sense to have a group made up of elected officials who can represent the community,” said Berry Creek Metro District Representative Don Cohen. “This gives us a more powerful voice in the community, and the county is listening.”

The task force originally formed about two years ago to work toward getting roundabouts built at the Interstate 70 interchange.

“The county said they needed to design these roundabouts and needed input and funding help from the community,” Marchetti said.

Both the county and the Edwards metro districts contributed money to design the roundabouts, which led to funding approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation for the $11 million project. Construction on the interchange is expected to start next year.

However, since then, the scope of the group’s work has grown, Marchetti said.

The task force is now working on a civic improvement plan that would set design guidelines for future town development and give the area a unified look.

“It covers things like (the appearance of) roads, sidewalks, signs and bridges,” Marchetti said. “We want to make sure that as development occurs in Edwards that these things are included.”

The task force and the county partnered to hire consultants to put the guidelines together.

The group has also worked with the county and school district concerning traffic on Miller Ranch Road with the new schools being built.

Next on the traffic agenda is improving Edwards Spur Road and the U.S. Highway 6 intersection, or getting a half-diamond interchange at Hillcrest Drive, Marchetti said.

The task force also gives the county a group to come to concerning Edwards-related issues, Marchetti said.

Residents said they are pretty happy with the services provided with the county.

“From what I hear, the overall feel is that things are done very well, most of it by the county,” Marchetti ssaid.

Eagle County plows the roads, the water district provides water services and the Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement for Edwards.

“Not being incorporated hasn’t had a negative impact on me,” Harp said.

She said that she tends to focus more on neighborhood issues than wider community issues. However, the task force meetings would be a good way to find out what is going on throughout Edwards, she said.

Nicole Magistro, co-owner of The Bookworm, said that as a business owner, being incorporated would not make too much of a difference. The biggest impact on her customers might be an additional municipal sales tax, she said.

“It might be nice to have more opportunities for funding or to have a unified voice on issues,” she said. “But it’s also nice to not have so many layers of government.”

All the concerns she has had, such as more bus routes for Riverwalk and traffic control on Highway 6, are being worked on already by the county, she said.

Marchetti and Cohen agreed that incorporating would just add another layer of bureaucracy between the metro districts and the county.

The area would not gain too much from incorporation, except maybe the costs of building town buildings and hiring safety and town staff, Cohen said.

Cohen said he doesn’t think Edwards will ever become its own town, but he could see the area consolidating into maybe a bigger Avon or a “greater Edwards.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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