Vail Daily editorial: Can Gypsum plan a downtown?
The town of Gypsum is working toward approving a new master plan. That plan — which still awaits public comments and approval by the Town Council — has some interesting ideas.
Before going into those ideas, though, it’s important to understand what master plans do — and what they don’t do.
A master plan doesn’t have the force of law. Instead, it’s an advisory document, a statement about the future of development in town that leaders — and, hopefully, residents and developers — want to see. The real work is up to people who own land, and those who propose developments.
With that said, there’s quite a bit to like in the early versions of this plan for Gypsum, although some of the artist’s depictions in the draft will never become reality.
At the top of the list, it will be interesting to see if the town’s long-time desire for a real downtown-type area can come to fruition.
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Eagle has been fortunate throughout time to have a true downtown, one that from the 1920s on linked the Eagle County administration building with the railroad tracks via Broadway. That’s led to Eagle having by far the most traditional downtown in the valley.
Gypsum, historically the smaller of the two towns — they’re about equal in population these days — was hamstrung, having just one block along the tracks, and no real draw past that block.
Town officials have long looked for ways to create community gathering places, with mixed success. The town hall complex, with a library on the north end and the Lundgren Theater on the south, is a great place to gather, but not terribly convenient for many residents.
An idea to create a kind of downtown area roughly to the east of Ridley’s market is interesting. With the right town and private investment, and with the proximity to Eagle Valley High School, it’s easy to see that area becoming a community hub in the not-too-distant future.
The draft plan also looks at ways to brighten up the town’s Interstate 70 interchange. That area will also require a good deal of private investment. Again, though, it’s easy to see that area becoming more appealing to both locals and visitors with the right kind of effort.
The Gypsum Town Council is expected to approve the plan in May. Until then, residents can take a closer look at these new ideas for the town at http://www.townofgypsum.com. Comments are welcome, and can be emailed to town planner Lana Gallegos, at email@example.com.