Growth can work, group says |

Growth can work, group says

Fred Schmidt and Jay Willoughby
Special to the Daily

We are pleased to announce the formation of a citizens group called Eye on Eagle.

This forum wants to encourage Eagle residents and business owners to be more involved in helping voice thoughts, generate ideas, and provide input on future growth initiatives for our town. Our efforts should not be construed as opposition to organizations that already exist, but rather our intent is to augment those efforts with more of a bent towards cultivating the prospects of growth.

Ours is a realization that the economic forces at play in the valley are simply too powerful to ignore and they need to be addressed. The position we are taking is that since growth is inevitable, we should seek the best way to embrace it, influence it, and manage it to our mutual benefit and satisfaction. Our platform goals are to:

– Generate a sustainable revenue stream and create less dependency on revenues generated by new development.

– Create a mechanism to channel funding to improve blighted areas and current infrastructure.

– Work with developers to help address the need for affordable housing.

– Create economic incentives for the continued revitalization of the Broadway retail trade area.

– Create a forum to address future cultural attractions and recreational venues.

There is a specific development proposal currently in the spotlight in our town called Eagle River Station. Our efforts should not be interpreted as solely existing to support this particular project. It certainly has been a catalyst for some of us to be more involved, however we view our initiative to be broader and Eagle River Station is only a part of the overall larger agenda of growth in Eagle. Specific to Eagle River Station, however, it can be a much-needed economic engine as well as the reason to create an urban renewal authority.

The city of Arvada, a suburb of Denver, provides a case study of how an urban renewal authority can create the successful coexistence of a regional retail center alongside “Old Town,” filled with specialty retailers and entrepreneurs.

Briefly, the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) is an independent legal entity with a volunteer board of seven members appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council. They function under a common objective dictated by a legally approved urban renewal plan.

Consider their published mission statement and the following paraphrase:

– To redevelop properties within the urban renewal boundaries;

– To afford maximum opportunities, consistent with the sound needs of the municipality as a whole, for the rehabilitation or redevelopment of the urban renewal area by private enterprise;

– To maximize return to the City of Arvada through sales and property tax collections, by optimizing the fiscal assets and the real estate assets, both AURA-owned and privately owned;

– To safeguard and prudently expend funds in its control; and,

– To further stabilize and provide for additional commercial, office, retail and residential development opportunities to serve the needs of the City of Arvada and the regional area.

Now consider creating an economic engine that could help the Town of Eagle to:

– Improve the financial viability of our specialty retailers on Broadway and the trade as a whole;

– Create a better link between the town and the underutilized fairgrounds and WECMRD baseball fields;

– Improve the look of the half-abandoned Union Pacific right-of-way;

– Address the look and feel of Gateway East.

It is our belief that supporting and further helping to shape Eagle River Station, creating an urban renewal authority, and being more proactive in managing our growth, will result in Eagle being more economically diverse and less dependent on revenues generated by residential growth. It can be a community that’s not only growing economically, but culturally, esthetically, and recreationally, as well.

Please get involved and help us keep an Eye on Eagle. You can contact us at

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