Jon Stavney: Eagle County’s crossroads
Vail CO, Colorado
Eagle County is in a critical transition period as we struggle to find a balance between preserving our high quality of life with the challenge of developing affordable homes for our workforce, maintaining open space for future generations and keeping our economy growing at a measured pace. As candidate for Eagle County Commissioner, District 2, I seek to put my decade of service as an elected official in the Town of Eagle to good use by continuing cooperation between the towns and the county.
There is an astounding pool of talent and wealth in our valley which creates opportunities that many communities will never know. These opportunities can fuel rapid growth while creating challenges that increasingly pose a threat to the long-term viability of our growing county. Policy and land-use decisions made this next decade will determine whether or not Eagle County and its municipalities have met those challenges with foresight.
Visitors from across America and the world come to Eagle County. Behind the scenes, the very people who make this a world-class resort by their day-to-day work often find that it is not an easy place to live, to raise a family, to pay for housing, for medical care, or tend to the advancement of their children.
As a working father of two grade-school children, with a wife who teaches at Eagle Valley High School, I know firsthand the difficulties working families face, and I truly believe that the lifestyle enjoyed by those of us who live here is endangered unless we act decisively today.
Government must take an active stance in sustaining the quality of life for our workforce, and for the individuals, couples and families who choose to make a home here for a season, or for a lifetime. The challenge of sustaining a viable and vibrant community is our responsibility to meet. We must strike a balance between the growth which creates our wealth and the needs of those people who sustain our community.
I believe that Eagle County is on the right track. Our current leaders have laid the groundwork for new cooperation between the municipalities and other jurisdictions, set a framework for sustainability and smart growth, and set a course for improving the lives of those who live and work here.
Through negotiating housing projects such as Miller Ranch and the West End Project, the county has advocated for our workforce. By pursuing open space acquisitions, it has helped preserve both our natural and Western heritages. It has helped to connect our communities through ECO Transit and ECO Trails, which has enhanced our quality of life. The county has been a key force in helping develop better traffic solutions such as the upcoming building of the Edwards I-70 interchange, and partnering on planning for Eby Creek Road in Eagle. The county has advocated at the state and federal governments for funding improvements to the airport.
These effort are bearing fruit. Yet tough decisions will need to be made in the next ten years that will be even more complicated and contested. Eagle County needs commissioners with backbone, who have an ability to listen, and the skills to negotiate in the public interest. Most importantly, those leaders must have the courage to act boldly to insure our future.
When my wife, Mary Ann, and I first came to Eagle County, we started in a rental apartment in Minturn. We were unsure that we would be able to make this our long-term home. Through her work with the school district, and mine with Beck Building Company, it is here that we have put down our roots, started a family, and have balanced our personal and professional lives with a strong commitment to community involvement.
For those who live here, and for those who may come in the future, I believe my leadership in both local business and in government will serve Eagle County well as we seek a balance between quality of life and economic opportunity for all residents. That is why I am running for county commissioner.
Jon Stavney is the mayor of Eagle and a Democratic candidate for county commissioner. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.