Ford Park fails as open space argument |

Ford Park fails as open space argument

Don Rogers

If only defenders of the county overspending to buy the downtown Edwards gravel pit as open space could get their metaphors straight. (Sigh.)Take Ford Park in Vail, and the truly prescient decision to buy it before condos carpeted the land, for example. As an argument for squandering $12 million to save the truly valuable riverfront slice of Eaton, this has a fatal flaw.You see, Ford Park isn’t even open space. Hate to break this to the starry-eyed, but the park actually is one of Vail’s economic drivers, primarily as home to the Ford Amphitheater. Then there’s the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. The softball fields, tennis courts, playground, carefully landscaped lawns … . Open space? Please.How about the “Eaton as Edwards’ Central Park” sentiment? Well, minus a few hundred skyscrapers and, oh, 20 million people. Never mind that you can be in the woods within three minutes even from that main corner the gravel pit abuts.Still, this image might help make the more important point about preserving open space. The gravel pit likely will become “Central Park.” And the 1,500-acre Scudder-Webster land up Lake Creek, the 600-plus acre Edwards Overlook, the 480-acre piece between between Singletree and Avon that Vail Resorts once was interested in, well, they more likely will become extensions of “Manhattan.” Well, sure. That makes a lot of sense. Do just the opposite of all those “smart growth” dictums. Maybe instead of grabbing at whatever comes available whenever there’s some money in a pocket, the county and its open space committee could be a little more methodical. They could start with a simple list, perhaps with some principles they’d actually follow. Vail, Colorado

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