Painted boots get political in Eagle
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE ” A local supporter of a regional retail project says he was booted from the “Boots on Broadway” project.
The project, intended to promote Eagle’s downtown business district throughout the summer, involves placement of a dozen, decorated, five-foot tall fiberglass boots in downtown Eagle. Organized by local radio conglomerate NRC Broadcasting, the boots are “sold” for $1,250 to local business sponsors, then decorated by local artists.
The giant western shoes will be unveiled during the Flight Days Parade, then will be placed at various locations in Eagle’s new Broadway Streetscape.
Jay Willoughby, one of the organizers of the Eye on Eagle political group, says his attempt to purchase the last remaining five-foot high, fiberglass boot was rebuffed, after an unnamed downtown merchant protested. The Eye on Eagle group was formed to support of the Eagle River Station project, a proposed regional retail project east of Chambers Avenue.
The boots will be moved to the fairgrounds this summer for the county fair and rodeo, and will be auctioned off. Money raised through the project will go to a yet to be determined charitable cause.
Willoughby said he decided to buy one of the boots under the auspices of the citizen group. But a few days later, he received a phone call from the project organizer, Holli Snyder.
According to Willoughby, Snyder returned his check after getting a call from a downtown merchant suggesting that the downtown business owners would pull out of the promotion if his political group became involved.
“It was never my intent to put her in the cross-hairs of the debate … but the more I thought about it, it just didn’t sit well with me,” said Willoughby.
Snyder said she is just pleased that all 12 sponsorships sold, and the artists have been lined up.
“Whatever controversy there is ” it is nothing that I’m involved in. I think they just wanted it to be more Broadway-centric,” she said.
Jan Rosenthal Townsend, a Broadway business owner who has been a consistent opponent of Eagle River Station, said she didn’t file the complaint with Snyder. But she said she did bring up the topic at a meeting of the local Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors , of which she is a member.
“Under the guise of a political campaign, I don’t think it is appropriate for a downtown merchants’ promotion that we instituted,” she said, “This is for bona fide businesses that contribute to a cause that benefits downtown.”
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