Vail Daily letter: Not for us
Vail, CO, Colorado
Unfortunately, Eagle River Station is again on people’s mind lately. It seems like most proponents of this project have a few things in common. Like the majority of the Eagle Town Board, most proponents are somehow tied to real estate or construction, so their motives are obvious.
It seems that ever since Beaver Creek was established, the valley has been littered with out-of-state developers that were all going to save us “poor locals” from ourselves. Once Beaver Creek matured, the developers turned their eyes toward Eagle — only stopping long enough on the way to doze over valuable deer and elk winter range, and to cash the checks.
Most locals seemed to ignore what was happening to the environment because local construction jobs were paying substantially more than the national average.
Some of us were paying attention. I have seen first hand what all the construction has done to the local deer herds, for example. Mule deer have been declining all along the West, but nowhere faster than in Eagle County. According to the Division of Wildlife, in 2004 they estimated the deer numbers in Eagle’s unit 44 to be at 7,520 animals. In their latest data from 2010, the numbers were at only 1,890 animals. Most of the losses occurred due to starvation after a single rough winter in that time frame.
I remember when the Airport Gateway Business Center was going to magically turn Eagle and Gypsum into Aspen. Several of us pleaded that the project be scaled back. There were literally hundreds of deer that would use that location during the winter. It fell on deaf ears, and just like that 234 acres were plowed under, and for what? A few struggling businesses, and cheatgrass that has grown over the empty lots.
If we really do need more retail, why isn’t anyone promoting that area instead of Eagle River Station? The infrastructure is already in place, not to mention the only Costco on the Western Slope is an anchor store. Why is the Town Board also ignoring the struggling business district in Eagle Ranch? Didn’t the board also claim they wanted to revitalize the business along Highway 6 on the west end of town? Has the board discussed why there are currently empty lots along Chambers that have been sitting undeveloped for years?
The Town Board knows Eagle doesn’t need any more retail. They are just grasping at anything that might generate a few more tax dollars for them to spend on their pet projects.
If you cannot find everything you need at Costco, The Eagle Pharmacy, Home Depot, Super-Walmart, Lowe’s, Target, Sports Authority or any other of the hundreds of businesses within a half hour of Eagle, then maybe Eagle isn’t the best place for you to live.