Vail Daily editor’s view: Let’s keep perspective in discussion about Eagle River Station | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily editor’s view: Let’s keep perspective in discussion about Eagle River Station

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

First, to check my biases at the door, let me declare I’m mildly in favor of Eagle River Station.

That’s the “lifestyle” shopping center proposed next to I-70 on 88 acres just east of the town.

I’m mildly for the project, which I believe will benefit Eagle, but mainly for a vote of the people about this. And I’m OK with whatever they decide.

Myself, I live just beyond the town boundaries, up Eby Creek on the dirt road, paradise. So I’m affected but will have no ballot. Too bad.

Retail is down, not dead. The leakage of consumer dollars from Eagle County is real. The location of this center beside I-70 is unparalleled. The financial benefit to the town is clear.

Further, the downtown cores of Eagle are not particularly well known outside the community. Aside from a sprinkling of events to attract them, few shoppers will go there on their own.

And fewer residents will pay a “lifestyle” fee of $250 to $500 to replace some of the revenue the stores would bring the community.

The downtown gems in Old Town Eagle and Eagle Ranch would benefit, not lose, from the freeway lifestyle center done well, I believe. Even a trickle of explorers who would not otherwise have stopped would make a significant difference.

The real question is whether Eagle River Station fits the quaint, smalltown values of historic Eagle. And that is a real question. One to be settled by referendum.

The developers are people, not devils, and they will manage whatever they build. The town officials are far from dopes. People who favor the shopping center have not lost their brains or souls. They simply have a different opinion.

So let’s argue on the merits rather than castigation, demonization, wild accusation.

I’m not some dude who “just wants more advertising.” Are you kidding? I only stand to lose for having the “wrong” opinion.

But I live here, too, love Eagle and want only the best for Eagle’s business community. I may well be touched in the head, but I do believe that the existing businesses will benefit rather than be hurt by a place that attracts visitors who can be directed to the true gems of our little town.

Eagle is a geode. A crusty exterior, as seen from the freeway, masks the beauty of the inner districts.

Let’s use the advantages of I-70’s exposure to provide Eagle a sustainable revenue stream and send some of those who stop to our gems downtown. This is the stuff of win-win.

Don Rogers,editor and publisher of the Vail Daily, welcomes comments. He can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2920.