Vail’s town border may end somewhere near Dowd Junction, but the goings-on in Vail reach all the way to the mouth of Glenwood Canyon.
Same goes for all of Eagle County’s towns along the Interstate 70. All of the Eagle Valley communities are intertwined somehow. An affordable housing shortage upvalley sends residents down to Eagle and Gypsum. Big-box development downvalley puts pressure on the mom-and-pop shops in Edwards and Avon.
This isn’t a new reality. For years the county’s towns operated much like little fiefdoms, making decisions and dictating policies with only their home communities in mind. The school district operated in its silo, the county commissioners in theirs, for example.
Over the past few years that has changed, with the Eagle County commissioners leading the push for more communication between the towns, the school district and all the other decision-making bodies in the valley.
Look at the results of all that cooperation:
” An alliance between Gypsum and Eagle County is making the Stratton Flats affordable housing project possible;
” A deal brokered among Eagle County, the Forest Service, Avon and the state Land Board could preserve 2,100 acres of open space;
” last-minute pledged from the Vail Valley Foundation and Eagle County saved a successful after-school reading program.
The list goes on and on.
That’s why we applaud efforts like the recent meeting between Eagle County and the Eagle County School Board this week. It’s sounds cheesy, but it’s true: There’s plenty to be gained by working together.
Still, these joint board meetings could be even more productive if the two groups could agree on an agenda ahead of time, and dedicate maybe just a little more staff time beforehand to narrowing down the discussion topics to just one or two things. Rather than launching a laundry list of ideas and suggestion to the school district on how they can help around the county ” which the Eagle County commissioners did at this last meeting ” focus on one thing, like housing, and dedicate the meeting to a meaningful, substantive discussion about how the two can work together.
We hope that whoever is elected to the county commission in November will realize the value in this cross-jurisdictional communication and keep it going. The valley’s residents will benefit.