Kim Bradley: Get to know Eagle River Station
I’ve been following the Eagle River Station proposal for more than two years now by attending town meetings, reading the letters to editor and have even hosted a couple of in-home meetings with the developer to help our friends and neighbors get the proper information and facts from the experts and consultants who have prepared numerous studies. During these sessions, we have found that Trinity/Red Development has taken our suggestions to heart and has incorporated the participants’ ideas into the 15-plus site plan changes that have been drafted with town staff.
It is important for Eagle residents to educate themselves on this proposed development as it will likely go to a town vote. Here are a few points that stand out and ones that have led me to be a proponent of Eagle River Station:
– I appreciate the town staff’s and developer’s thorough, due diligence on this project. The Eagle Area Community Plan plots out a large-scale development for this parcel and we have found a developer that is really listening to the Eagle citizens. They have lowered the commercial square footage, improved the view corridor between buildings, eliminated a private school to provide more open space, provided affordable housing above and beyond what’s required, reduced building heights and obtained a bike path connection to the existing bike path. This thorough review has positioned the town of Eagle as a forward-thinking community.
– I live in Eagle Ranch where we have a metro district and have seen how well it works. A metro district formed for Eagle River Station will not be taking money from our town, but instead will enhance it as the golf course has for the whole community. The bonds for this district will pay for more than $45 million of public improvements such as a new and badly needed I-70 interchange (we will not be getting one west of Eagle anytime soon, contrary to what the opponents may be saying), upgrading of a sewer line down Chambers Avenue, a 2-million-gallon water tank, Eby Creek Road improvements and more. We need these things and I can’t think of a more feasible way to pay for them than Eagle River Station.
– The most recent community plan survey shows that preservation of small town character is important to most residents … I agree! Eagle River Station will help us do this. How? Because we will have incremental tax revenues to the town to the tune of $37 million over 20 years (and then when the bonds are paid off, we get all the sales tax revenue estimated at $8 million a year) to ensure our town stays healthy and vibrant, and boasting Western charm with its various events, town parks and inviting streets. Our population is growing fast ” we’re up to nearly 6,000 residents. We need to relieve the pressures on the town for services so that we can maintain and enhance our comfortable environment instead of becoming a poor, decrepit town that will soon boast lack of forward-thinking if we don’t generate some much-needed tax dollars soon! It’s easy for non-residents to say they’d rather have a property tax increase than Eagle River Station ” but that’s just it, they wouldn’t get the tax increase ” we would! And I’m all for infill and do support the local businesses in town, but again, we won’t have nearly the incremental tax revenues that Eagle River Station would bring in from year one necessary to make a difference.
– Several of my friends have expressed their interest in this project so that they won’t have to commute upvalley anymore. Why commute to Avon or Vail for seasonal work when gas prices are so high? We can stay right here and enjoy year-round employment with benefits, while enhancing our quality of life.
– TrinityRED would not be moving forward with this project if they didn’t have the financing nor the interest from high-end retailers to fill their one-of-a-kind lifestyle center. This isn’t a strip mall and it absolutely will have a regional draw. Since learning about the financial state of our town, I have tried hard to buy our family goods here in Eagle … it’s impossible and probably 75 percent of our disposable income leaves this town. I look forward to the convenience of shopping for all of our needs and wants in town and supporting the local economy.
As members of a small community who enjoy things just the way they are, it may be difficult for most of us to visualize the big picture. It is time to take a step forward though and work together to move Eagle towards being a premier, small mountain town instead of getting stuck in the “good old days.”
Get educated! Come to the upcoming town meetings or invite Vince Riggio and his team to your house for an informal overview of the project with a group of your friends. They are quite open in these meetings and will answer your difficult questions with the truth.
Kim Bradley is an Eagle resident. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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