Vail CO, Colorado
What to make of this odd place called Eagle-Vail? As its name implies, it is neither Vail nor Eagle, but seeks, perhaps, to incorporate elements of both towns. In the process, it has become neither.
With a new study by the Urban Land Institute suggesting Eagle-Vail could be more than it is, we can only say it sounds like a good idea. As business residents of the area ourselves, Vail Daily staffers know how inhospitable the area is to pedestrian traffic of any kind. The Eagle River flows right through our backyard, but there’s no way to walk alongside it. Our exercise is limited to strolling past the furniture and tire shops and hoping we don’t get run over in the process.
So, could Eagle-Vail someday be transmogrified into a more robust, mixed-use kind of neighborhood ” the kind of place planners love to envision with area residents walking along landscaped paths while local businesses pump money into the tax base?
Well, anything’s possible with enough money and patience. As we’ve seen in other mishmash towns like Avon and Silverthorne, though, it’s not easy to take something that hasn’t grown organically around a town center and make it Mayberry overnight.
Sure, a rec path of some sort through Eagle-Vail would be nice, but should there not also be room in our increasingly gentrified county for a more industrial zone ” a place where businesses can exist and not spend all their profit on rent? A place where a carwash isn’t frowned upon by planners or elected officials who’d rather have a boutique or another real estate office?
We’re all for sprucing up Eagle-Vail a little bit. Hopefully, though, it’s not just putting lipstick on a pig. A major re-do of the area needs to make sense for the majority of businesses and residents ” not just for planners who see a redevelopment project in every non-manicured part of our county.