Residents happy with plans for ‘West End’
EDWARDS – Edwards residents said they were impressed with preliminary plans for the “West End” project, potentially one of the largest business and residential developments in the area.Many are particularly pleased with the 72 affordable homes incorporated into the project, while the only concerns raised were related to controlling traffic in the area near U.S. Highway 6 and Edwards Village Boulevard where the development is proposed to be built.”We’ve got an intruiging deal here,” said Don Cohen, director of the Eagle County Economic Council. “This really set the bar up a notch for affordable housing. I hope this will send a signal to the county and other towns.”Leaders of surrounding communities such as Cordillera and Arrowhead also approve of the development, he said.Representatives of the Midtown Group development company presented preliminary plans of the 5.3-acre, pedestrian-friendly development to the public and Eagle County commissioners Tuesday. It is designed to be a “live where you work” project that would be the biggest development in the area since Riverwalk.Both commissioners and residents seemed pleased with the affordable-housing starting prices of $158,000 for a studio and $181,000 for a one-bedroom home.”We’ve constructed a plan to address a range of housing. That’s really going to help get these sold, get this moving and get people living in the West End,” said Midtown Group representative Brian Bair.County commissioner Arn Menconi said the plan was an improvement on what had already been a good plan. “This is at least double (the amount of affordable housing) that existed anywhere before. I’m pleased to see something that focuses on that issue.”The plans, which call for a mix of offices, shops and homes adjacent to the Eagle River Preserve site, will not only provide affordable housing, but also improve the run-down area, said Edwards resident Suzi Apple. “I’m excited about the improvements this could make,” Apple said. “This is giving people of different economic backgrounds the opportunity to live and work in the same place, and it will clean up the area.”Currently the land is empty except for some trailer homes and contruction materials.Residents and commissioners also expressed concern over already-busy traffic in the area and possible road work that would need to be done in the future. Developers presented several solutions, including pedestrian crosswalks and a roundabout at Highway 6 and Edwards Spur Road. Commissioner Sara Fisher commended the project in general but agreed that more needed to be done about traffic control. “Traffic is a major component and concern for me. I don’t see enough pedestrian crosswalks on Highway 6 (in the plans) to convince me,” she said.Homestead resident Jo Brown agreed, saying that the proposed traffic solutions were not good enough.”That solves the West End traffic problems, but not ours,” she said. “We need to solve the traffic problems we have before we create any more.”
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