Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: The field by the freeway
Vail, CO, Colorado
Listening to all the fuss, you’d think Eagle River Station were poised to fill 9,000 acres of pasture, or 900 at least.
But no. We’re talking less than 90.
The hugest thing ever, if you go by the hollering, the rending of garments, the gnashing of teeth, in reality would fit in a field between Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 that’s all of … 88 acres.
The location may well be the best in Colorado now for the type of shopping center proposed for it. But it’s not exactly the Holy Cross Wilderness some have been made it out to be.
The Eagle Town Board has vetted the project – made sure the proposal fits the community master plan, puts the town’s risk at nil and will help financially.
Done. Done. And done.
No stores get built until the developer has the appropriate commitments from the companies that would fill them. The developer stays on to manage the enterprise afterward. And despite the nice neighbor lady’s doubts about how this could possibly work, the developer is reputable and has a successful track record.
Local construction people would be employed. Retail jobs include managers as well as clerks. The timing of when stores open would be when the economy is ripe.
If there truly is no market for the center, if stores truly would not make it, if all that stark fear is correct, well, the thing wouldn’t be built.
The folks in the business aren’t completely stupid, in other words, and the checks and balances appear to be in place.
Naturally, none of the above matters if the simple fact is you just don’t like the idea of a shopping center next to the freeway as part of your town.
Endlessly second-guessing the people in the biz with a whole lot to lose if they get it wrong is great with popcorn and a pop. Just understand they aren’t simply rolling dice with their investment.
No better ideas surfaced in the two years since the last referendum.
Eagle is not going to make up the revenue in other ways.
This boils down to a choice between practicality and aesthetics.
The practical part has been pretty well thought through by now. Still, a good portion of the residents can’t stomach the thought of a shopping center at the interstate. Maybe most.
Just understand there will be a cost either way the vote goes.
Me, I’d put those 88 acres out by the freeway to work. Ironically, the aesthetic appeal of Eagle actually would improve as a result – both in cleaning up Chambers over time and in funds for amenities and needs.
Eagle would lose none of its beauty by being practical, for a change.