Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Why I support ERS |

Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Why I support ERS

Don Rogers
Vail, CO Colorado

Every consumer survey I’ve seen shows that 35-40 percent of our shopping dollars leak outside the valley.

Our own survey in January, sure enough, showed this, too. Some of this is businesses going cheap on marketing and paying a price they don’t even realize.

But the preponderance of those millions leaving the valley is lack of availability. We have to go out of town to buy some of what we need.

This is why the folks who would lock the gates at East Vail are vexed by recurring bids to do something about that leakage. This a loss of tax dollars, in addition to shopping opportunity.

And this is why Eagle River Station is baaaaack.

Eagle’s voters rejected the first plan to build a shopping center on 80 acres just east of Chambers in January 2010 by only 156 votes, out of 2,194 cast. You just knew this would be back at some point.

The project has been changed in the meantime, obviously to make the plan palatable enough to pull at least 157 votes the other way in the next referendum. It’s a little smaller, and the housing component is greatly reduced now, for instance.

I do think Target officials have a better grasp on the potential of a store in Eagle than the grumpy neighbor lady who doesn’t like the idea of a shopping center or big box in her town. Just because.

In other words, it’s an aesthetic sentiment, which should not be confused with the economic argument, which actually is sound. Naturally, the debate shifts when aesthetic critics, like good defense attorneys, do their best to muddy the economic discussion. This is where the discussion devolves into rhetoric. And each side engages fully, no question.

Aesthetic sentiments break down for me when I see a patch of grass between highways, next to the ugly part of town. I’m mindful that all the open space I could ever want remains practically outside our back doors.

I also see that Eagle River Station is much more likely to help Eagle’s quaint but ailing downtown than hurt it. And I have to note that opponents who argued there were better answers never came up with anything compelling in the 16 months since ERS was voted down.

I support the development because I see it makes sense economically, will help our quality of life, and sits in a place just right for that purpose.

I know roughly half of you think I’m full of, well, you know. So this will be an interesting discussion, to say the least. Let’s remember, though, we’re neighbors, and not evil to our cores for having a different opinion. We just disagree. Thankfully we’ll settle that the civilized way: With our votes.

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