Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: Few are caught up in Eagle River Station
May 19, 2012
Eagle River Station might just be the most fiercely fought contest ever … among 50 or so people.
I’m struck not so much by a paradigm conflict dividing a whole town so much as an example of a few folks making a lot of noise.
The developers are so, so bad, it’s a wonder they haven’t been arrested yet, if you listen to the most ardent opponents. Or they are saints and savants flying in to save our town, if you go by their biggest fans.
Each side in this, er, tiff shows how sort of like at McDonald’s, you can have your “facts” your way.
It’s a common opposition tactic to confuse the issue and create as much doubt as possible.
And characterizing approval for Eagle River Station as a panacea, the path to Utopia for Eagle, of course is overdone, too. Approval doesn’t equate to “done deal,” as we’ve seen in our valley.
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The true believers really, really believe. I think we all get that. It’s just that it’s mostly the same few people doing the talking and writing. The level of fanaticism on this issue isn’t so hysterical if you consider all the people who aren’t screaming and tearing their hair out over ERS.
To be sure, we know this is a crossroads for Eagle, much like Vail in its Renaissance, which by the way has worked out very well for them.
The problem with this democracy thing – where we let all these clueless, ignorant citizens vote – is we get these crazy campaigns filled with wild hopes and fears playing at full throttle. Oops, I digressed into the presidential election.
The truth is Vail was a huge risk that couldn’t possibly work. Only it did. Then Beaver Creek. Riverwalk. Eagle Ranch. … The Great Recession put development plans for Minturn, Edwards, Wolcott, Eagle and Gypsum – oh, and EverVail – into hibernation, definitely. Like the others, Eagle River Station won’t be built until the numbers actually work. If they never work, the developer won’t build anyway – they have real dollars at stake.
The town leaders scrutinized the plan and overwhelmingly supported it. The developers have a successful record, the location is right, and Eagle would be enhanced in the right ways.
But hey, the townsfolk will vote May 22 and we’ll all move on.
It just might take some of those 50 awhile longer to get over it.
The immediate aftereffect of the election will be a shrug. Count on that changing, though, if the town winds up backed into the specter of property tax hikes to make ends meet.
Now that truly would be sad. But there’d be a little keener interest if your dollars were at stake.
And actually, they are.