Letter: Corporate America will spoil Eagle
Corporate America (CA), doing business as Trinity/Red, has found its Mayberry (a.k.a. Eagle) and has ridden into town with its version of a lifestyle. CA wants this lifestyle for Eagle, whether Eagle is amenable to such a metamorphosis or not; oh, and by the way, CA might also have an alternative motive, such as exorbitant profits from the sale of higher-priced condos (581 of them) and predatory rental rates to be exacted from its commercial tenants that happen to survive the arrows of outrageous fortune.
As I sat there through CA’s “professional” presentation before the planning and zoning commission, I was struck with the prospect that if this grandiose project were to be approved, Eagle’s age of innocence would end, and we would lose the charm that has been fomented by over 130 years of the individual endeavors of its citizens (none of whom were tenants of Corporate America). Eagle’s small-country charm is the lifestyle that has drawn those who have escaped from the stress, congestion and pollution of areas that had been created by corporate America in the first place; for example, the L.A.’s and New York’s of our landscape. Like that “other” government in Washington, D.C., CA subsumes that it knows what is best for us, and that its lifestyle is the future for a new and consuming American.
We now have a definition of what a lifestyle center is. In this, CA characterizes its Eagle River Station project akin to a successful mall that was developed in a suburb of Madison, Wisc. ” a city of 17,000-plus souls which is next to Madison ” a city with 225,000-plus souls. CA declares that since that mall was successful during a booming economic era (anything up to 2007)) near a large metropolitan area with surrounding private tracts in which to expand its population, it would also be a fit and successful in our town of less than 1/20th its size. With no employees in an area where less than 15 percent of the surrounding terrain is private, and in an economy that is suffering through a recession, this must be the seventh inning stretch! Making ny comparison between the number of consumers or employees available in/around Madison to those in Eagle would be like comparing black to white, or night to day.
CA also asserts that its project is a fit and in conformance with the extant Eagle Area Community Plan, and that it has more than met the open space prerequisite for approval. After I digested this statement, I began to recognize CA’s rationale, to wit, if you add into the numerator of the ratio the acres of asphalt parking areas, and in turn, parse the word parking as synonymous with recreation, then Eagle River Station does have over one-third of their land as open-space. This construction is just as incredulous as characterizing 45- to 65-foot, four-story structures, acres of surrounding parking lots, a “big box” retail edifice, a regional market, another downtown main street and a back-alley approach from the east along I-70 on the north side of the project, as in keeping with historic Eagle.
Finally, just ask yourself if this new project will contribute to the magnetism of historic Eagle as a special place to live, retire, or to recreate? Would it have more of an appeal to the world than the large herds of elk that winter at our door steps, the legions of deer that we have to feed in the winter so that they can pilfer our gardens in summer, eat our flowers at will, or the clear waters of Rio Eagle and azure skies that we now have, and wish to preserve?
In other words, preserve what we have, and they will always come to this small part of the national fabric; but were we to buy into CA’s hyped lifestyle, I portend that Eagle’s much appreciated history would abruptly end and become merged with CA’s new age of materialism. Vail has its world-class skiing experience, and that is special for it! Eagle has its vast and surrounding forests, sylvan streams, winter snows, wildlife, solitude and small western ambiance; and all of that is special to it!
Why spoil it?