Public could play key role in preservation |

Public could play key role in preservation

Tamara Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – There’s no power like the power of the people, and the proponents of purchasing and preserving part of Eaton Ranch know that.The Vail Valley Foundation, the charitable organization leading the $12 million fund-raising effort to purchase the parcel, also is trying to rally supporters. “People need to speak up,” said Ceil Folz, president of the organization. “Eighty percent of the people I hear from support this project. We need those same people to be more proactive.”Certainly community support helped secure the deal to purchase and preserve 4,600 acres of ranch land on the west side of Eagle County, known as Bair Ranch. Eagle County contributed $2 million toward the purchase after months of rallying from the public. Commissioners Arn Menconi and Tom Stone were split on the issue, with Menconi in favor and Stone against. Former Commissioner Michael Gallagher issued the tie-splitting vote, in favor of the project.The Vail Valley Foundation is urging supporters to write letters to local newspapers and to attend this Thursday’s meeting. The group has received $2.1 million in formal pledges so far, and about $2 million in informal pledges, said Harry Frampton, who serves on the foundation’s board of directors. All of those are contingent on the county’s approval of $6 million toward the $12 million parcel.Menconi even told the foundation during Friday’s meeting that a good showing from supporters at Thursday’s meeting would be important.”I really would like to see a good showing of the public,” he said. “We need to find out how many people care.”Vail, Colorado

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