Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: ERS politics entangle Gypsum |

Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: ERS politics entangle Gypsum

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick had barely sat down in his new seat when he announced that City Market was looking for new digs.

Then came another little bombshell: The developers of Eagle River Station had placed a last-second bid on the similar-sized Tower Center in much more biz-friendly Gypsum.

Let’s put it this way: The town that said thank you, thank you very much to Costco and the chance to annex the airport back when, after Eagle turned its nose up at the opportunities, would take Eagle River Station in a second.

That’s what their history says, anyway. Most recently, townsfolk crowded into the council chambers to express ardent support for a new biomass plant.

Gypsum’s town council, by the way, is mortified at becoming a pawn in the politics surrounding Eagle River Station. Council members insist they aren’t courting anyone, haven’t spoken with anyone connected to Eagle River Station, and have been assured by City Market’s execs that there is no move afoot to leave Eagle anytime soon. Besides, Gypsum already has a supermarket.

Leave us out of the electioneering, they plead, and that’s understandable.

Still … the nice folks in Eagle who don’t want their mellow disturbed presumably can continue to take comfort that big stores and an airport a few miles away support the next town over instead of theirs.

Somehow, this is seen as an advantage. It’s a funny sort of NIMBY, though, since the same stuff is about the same distance from home, equally out of sight and mind until they hit the road. They just don’t get quite the financial benefits to their community.

It’s happened before. It’s teed up to happen again, as signaled by the elections of Kostick as mayor and Brandi Resa as a town trustee. Both advocate strongly against Eagle River Station. Nothing against either from this corner, by the way. This is just tea-leaf reading from the town’s politics.

ERS opponents mock both new, er, developments: City Market would be crazy to leave Eagle, and the Tower Center site pales to the current Eagle River Station property, mainly for visibility and easy access from Interstate 70. Also, the developers would be far less likely to be able to arrange the nuanced public financing with Gypsum that they did with Eagle.

I agree, but I wouldn’t be quite as certain. Costco is doing just fine, for example, in its well-hidden location. And you never can tell what a municipality will do until it actually wrestles with a true proposal. For now anyway, Eagle River Station’s developer is focused on Eagle.

Ironically enough, City Market had to fight to build a store in Eagle, with residents who didn’t believe it was “that” kind of town when people could drive off to Avon or wherever if they really needed a supermarket experience. Besides, it would never work.

Now 40 to 46 percent of the town’s sales tax revenue would leave with City Market. The likelihood might be very, very low, but I still wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. This is something Eagle has to take seriously.

Neither would I mock the developers of Eagle River Station for bidding on the Tower Center site. Frankly, I’ve been wondering what took them so long. It’s as much a prudent Plan B as an obvious ploy to get voters at least thinking twice.

As they should, actually.

Meantime, I suspect that Yuri has found his new seat suddenly a little warmer.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at or 970-748-2920.

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