No, no and … no to Eagle River Station |

No, no and … no to Eagle River Station

Brendan Harrington
Eagle, CO, Colorado

I am a resident of Eagle, and I am strongly opposed to the Eagle River Station project.

The massive development, as proposed, is the wrong way to approach our growth and would be detrimental to the future of our community. The list of drawbacks is extensive ” from environmental damage to lifestyle damage to being very costly for the people of Eagle ” while there is only one good argument for it: money.

Proponents argue that ERS would bring money into the town of Eagle. Well, so would myriad other projects and ideas that would not damage our unique town. Much more than money, our prosperity as a community lies in the quality of life here. The promise of our future lies in the lifestyle that we, the residents of Eagle, chose when we moved here. ERS would seriously handicap that lifestyle.

Over the past 10 years, the town of Eagle has grown exponentially. This growth has been handled responsibly, with foresight and appropriate community investment. The renovation of Broadway, for example, sets the stage for a vibrant business community and cultural center. Let’s continue the responsible and measured growth that has proven so effective. Our true value is our uniqueness. Our true value is as a family community with a small-town feel ” an attractive, magnetic place to live.

I am not anti-growth or anti-development. But Eagle River Station is a very bad idea. If we want to stimulate the local economy, let’s consider other ideas that will not harm our beautiful landscape and that will maintain the uniqueness of this wonderful town. For example, investing in and promoting business along Grand Avenue would help to clean up the strip while keeping local jobs, supporting small businesses and using existing town space to stimulate our economy.

If big-box stores want to build here, let’s put them along the stretch of U.S. Highway 6 between Eagle and Gypsum that already has box stores, retail development, etc. Why not cost- and revenue-share with the town of Gypsum to develop this already-established retail area further? Any new hotel would be conveniently located by the airport and, most significantly, if a new highway exit is approved, it would be best located by the airport to help alleviate the surge of traffic coming through town.

We’ve all seen the numbers, so I won’t spend time on the data here. But consider what thousands of new residents would do to our already crowded schools and our already busy traffic. And consider what big-box, national retail would do to our small-business community and your very neighbors who have carved a way to live in this special place. Do you know the owners and employees of the Nearly Everything Pharmacy? Well, what would a Wal-Mart or a Target do to their business?

That’s not what I want for my friends and neighbors. Do you?

I will even go one step further here and propose that our Town Council pass zoning to prohibit big-box stores (structures above a certain square footage and taller than a certain height) in the town of Eagle anytime in the future. If we address this question now and establish zoning for responsible growth, then we won’t need to fight off the next short-sighted proposal. Let’s set a standard now, while the discussion is on the table.

As a Colorado native, I bristle at these out-of-state developers who, with no regard for the majesty of this place and its true character, persist in their unpopular plans for personal profit. Take Red McCombs, of Texas, and his plans for an uber-development at Wolf Creek. He has met staunch resistance from the community, the government and all walks of life. Yet, he persists.

The people of Telluride actually had to buy their valley floor to save it from development. And here, in Eagle, the Kansas City-based RED has been voted down at least twice, convincingly. Yet, they persist as well. (What is it with the name RED, anyway?)

So, get the hint, RED, and go away. Go build a Broncos stadium in Kansas City. It’d be about as welcome there as your Eagle River Station is here.

Brendan Harrington


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