Vail Daily letter: Has to be something else
Vail, CO, Colorado
I have tried in the past to throw some positive thoughts into alternatives for development to the land just east of Eagle, but they are usually shot down by those in favor of the moneyed proposal in front of us right now, even if it is a misfit with existing Eagle. Instant gratification is a powerful thing.
But I’ll try again with some ideas. Karen Kaflas mentioned a horse race track, and a Western-themed development is something that has always interested me.
Bear with me, as I already hear the groans about the difference in the amount of tax dollars, but with imaginative thinking there are many money making possibilities.
I so often hear about the amazing recreational opportunities that exist here. They draw people, so why not expand on that? An indoor sports facility could include batting cages, archery range and indoor golf driving range with associated sporting retail. Activities year-round for our outdoor enthusiasts! Make Eagle the all-sport center of the Western Slope.
Berry Creek Equestrian Center was closed a few years ago for a variety of reasons, mostly mismanagement, but there is a tremendous gap in our area for the still very strong equestrian community. A strong base might be a top-line boarding facility for both residents and visitors, perhaps including a large animal vet facility.
This would not compete with the Eagle River facility, but in fact offer housing and services to the hundreds of horse and mule people who come to Eagle for equine events. People attending our weeklong county fair and rodeo are forced to sleep with their horses at the fairgrounds, or leave their horses unattended for a motel room for themselves. Why not a beautifully done horse motel?
There is nothing right on Interstate 70 that offers overnight accommodations for people traveling with their horses. Picture a Jackson Hole-type log structure with deep luxurious appointments that all travelers would find enticing.
How about incorporating a good-size saloon that would bring bands and dancing, a venue that has been incredibly popular in the past. Anyone remember Berniece’s or Prairie Moon?
Events such as those at 4-Eagle Ranch would be very popular right here without driving so far, and could also draw off of I-70, as well.
I even had a friend mention some dirt racing for motor heads since our BLM land is becoming increasingly restricted to them. Something for a family to do other than mall-crawling!
But there is retail that could fit. Murdock’s is an amazing complete shopping experience with a Western flair. Everything from clothing to housewares to basic hardware (now there’s something more needed than Old Navy).
There is a store in Clifton to check out, and hey, if stores that exist in both Glenwood and Silverthorne are being considered for duplication here, why not one more than 100 miles away? Or go big and try to lure Cabella’s. They become a destination in themselves and are a mecca for hunters and outdoors men in the state and beyond.
I also really like the idea of an agricultural endeavor to supply our community with fresh produce. They are working successfully all over our country, and the land is available.
Let’s consider making east Eagle truly mixed-use, rather than just a variety of national boxes and some rentals. I know we have bright marketing people right here who could run with any number of ideas, but it’s hard not to be wooed by the aroma of fresh cash being wafted in front of us right now.
Bottom line, here is my message: With the results of our recent election, it is clear to me the people of Eagle are willing to look further for development that is a better fit for everyone in our area. With my ideas, I hope to encourage people to start brainstorming. My ideas may not fit for you, but start thinking about what else you might like to see out there and let your ideas be known!
Is our history about a false-front, five-story shopping experience? Or rather an outdoor Western heritage of enjoying the tremendous assets Eagle has at its doorstep? Let’s explore enhancing it!
Do we want to rush to decide Eagle’s future in a few short weeks? Vote “no” to Eagle River Station, and let’s take a more studied vision for our future and explore all of the possibilities that will utilize all that Eagle has to offer.
Once you give it away, it’s gone forever.
And yes, I know, that land is developer-owned, but maybe this time they really will listen to us.