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flatlander:Gypsum’s goals are foggy

Austin Richardson
Austin
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Mayor Steve Carver’s dismissal of Gypsum resident Tom Stone’s proposal to revive “downtown” Gypsum shows how a little power can go a long way.

By deeming the subject “dead” saying “anybody can bring can bring any proposal to talk to us” but “that doesn’t mean the council is going to act on it” is right in line with the way Gypsum’s government seems to work.

And why should Gypsum have an actual downtown? Why should they have more local businesses when the big box stores are looming on the horizon. Short-sighted, Gypsum leaders, very short-sighted.

The most disturbing part of the whole deal is that Gypsum’s government won’t even hear what the public has to say on the matter. For better or worse, it’s government’s obligation to at least hear both sides of the proposal before dismissing the matter.

Having a “river walk” between Valley Road and Lost Lane may not be the best idea, but it certainly isn’t the worst. And as for being the “original” part of Gypsum … that may be so, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a better place to live. In fact, developing that area would make property taxes go up in that neighborhood. Andwhy would anyone want to increase the value of their property?

Yeah, it’s probably a better idea to increase the property values near the airport. That’s where Gypsum yearns to be anyway.

In Gypsum’s quest to be “anything but Eagle” you’ll wind up shooting yourself in the foot. Eagle has almost let it’s downtown slip south to Eagle Ranch. Businesses using converted houses in downtown Eagle realize the value of their position. In time, there will be a renaissance in the way developers and town leaders perceive actual towns. Once all the cookie-cutter Eagle Ranch, Chatfield Corners, Eagle River Estates and Bluffs of the Eagle-Gypsum area are complete, there will be little left to develop. Once there’s no open space to build on, the property those old houses are built on will skyrocket in value. The reason: it’s an actual town, not a developer’s lust for triple-digit profits on marginally built spec homes.

Perhaps that’s why nobody wants to develop the actual downtown areas of Eagle and Gypsum, it’s a nest-egg for all the true locals’ grandchildren. That “old house” in the downtown area could easily be scraped and a soulless duplex put there in it’s place when all the baby-boomer-snowbirds come to Colorado to roost. Sell the finished product for a hefty profit or just sell the property for a moderate profit. Chances are it will be just enough to purchase a McMansion on a golf course near Grand Junction by then.

Why give small businesses a chance? Is the goal to push Gypsum’s downtown toward the airport?

Traffic due to business in Eagle? Seriously, the traffic on Capitol is from Eagle Ranch and The Terrace. Those two developments weren’t there when the town was laid out, now there’s a traffic “problem” on the streets of Eagle. Businesses in the outlying areas of downtown Eagle don’t cause the traffic, it’s folks either going home or going to build new homes.

Comparatively, the traffic flow of Gypsum is far different. Valley Road is full of construction traffic, just like Capitol Street in Eagle. Once the construction either stumbles with the economy or the towns are built out, the traffic will subside.

So, by a roundabout way of logic, it’s a good thing that Gypsum’s leaders won’t engage their constituency in open dialogue.

Vail Daily Web Editor Austin Richardson contributes his opinion to the Vail Daily Blog site. Contact him directly at arichardson@vaildaily.com or at (970) 748-2911.

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