Greg Honan: Do we really need more open space?
Vail CO, Colorado
The fact that so many have been convinced to be thrilled about the new open space that the Vail Valley Foundation and Eagle County purchased in Edwards is mind-boggling. The Vail Valley Foundation does wonders for our area, so I am NOT here to simply bash the organization.
A lot of the area purchased for the new open space is already a gravel pit. Now we all get to pay for it to be turned back into grass and very young newly planted trees? I guess the fact that about 85 percent of Eagle County is already owned by one form of government or another ” providing all the mountain/forest access we all need ” isn’t enough? Unfortunately, Edwards was on track to become the best town in the area, which makes sense as to why it could be threatening to Vail. Edwards has easy access to movies, new/great restaurants, stores and affordable housing. Rick Hermes and Suzi Apple were to attempting to continue with this momentum with new shopping, restaurants, housing ” including affordable housing ” until the open space plan halted the wonderful progress and vision.
Why do we all have to listen to complaints about the lack of affordable housing when we as a community are creating a situation that causes ALL housing in the valley to be more expensive? Since I own two properties in Eagle-Vail, I benefit from this plan, as do other upvalley homeowners and developers due to this decrease in available building opportunities. And, if I were a Vail-based real estate mogul that ran the Vail Valley Foundation, and my company would not necessarily have the new listings that would have been created in the said Edwards development, nor did I own the Edwards land that was to be developed, I would indirectly benefit even more.
This Edwards “open space” idea was created at the height of the real estate market when it appeared money would never be an issue. Now, there will be less options for shopping, housing, tax revenue, restaurants, nightlife, live music and everything else that we locals and tourists desire and which make our community better. I would have liked to have a Whole Foods! I would have liked to have a new option for live music in Edwards! How about if you can’t afford to live in Vail, as we all cannot, then how about a great town like Edwards?
People like options. The movie theaters are gone in Vail! State Bridge and 8150 are gone! Affordable housing in Vail is unrealistic, Expensive and a dream! Get real. Rick Hermes is now developing Wolcott instead of Edwards. Too bad! I think Wolcott will be great, but Edwards was already on track and people can get there much easier than Wolcott. There is way more behind-the-scenes information to this story. But having one more option for a five-minute bike ride or hike in the new Edwards open space is the solution to keeping the entire Vail Valley as competitive and cutting edge. The revenue from the development and everything that comes with it would have provided what many desire ” tourists, locals and second home owners included.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
I have lived in Sun Valley, Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat, Mt. Bachelor (Bend, Ore.) and I have a good sense of what makes Vail so great as a ski area. By the way, my daughter was born in Vail and we plan on staying.
With May 2008 being the second slowest month since 1996 for real estate in Eagle County ” down 47 percent from a year ago ” let’s take this opportunity to rethink the future of the Vail Valley, including Edwards, as a whole and work together as a community to make the entire Vail Valley a better place to live, visit and enjoy. Perhaps we all can work on the open space in our minds, hearts and pocketbooks and at the same time, appreciate the abundant open space land that Eagle County is already blessed.
Greg Honan is an Eagle-Vail resident. E-mail your guest column to firstname.lastname@example.org.