Vail Daily editorial: An idea worth developing
On Tuesday the county commissioners can set the new year on the right course.That is, they can move the most exhausting review of a “sketch plan” anyone has heard of to the next step in the long approval process for the Eagle River Meadows development proposal.Scrutiny of any big project is good, and this one – with an intriguing idea in line with the next step in Eagle County’s economic evolution – has received plenty of attention by various bodies over the past two years. They’ve had so few to pore over, after all.For those who fear that this idea of homes and a medical campus marks the end of Edwards as we know it, remember that we’re talking about a “sketch plan,” the first phase of a three-step approval process. This development proposal hasn’t even gotten to the “preliminary plan” stage yet, never mind anywhere near “final plan” scrutiny.In other words, “sketch plan” approval of a development focusing on health care where the remainder of the B&B gravel pit now sits in Edwards is compelling enough for the commissioners to move to the next level of scrutiny, which is well short of done deal. We like the project so far because it is not based on the valley’s 2006 boom-time economy, and done right it has the potential to provide those well-paying, “sustainable” jobs that the visionaries see as the future.The project has the potential to fit hand-in-glove with an aging, still active population – including that half of the county invested in second homes. Health care and lifelong learning are two concepts in vogue for pretty good reason, actually.The plan in Edwards has the support of the majority of homeowners associations and metro boards; it is attractive and fits well with the river and wetlands in the area; and it offers the sort of smart growth that community leaders have been saying the valley needs.It only makes sense that the county commissioners see if this seed has the potential to germinate into something worth cultivating.So we urge them to just say yes Tuesday to giving the developers a chance to grow their concept. This could be that first step to a brighter future.