Vail Valley Voices: Just be sure to vote on ERS
May 19, 2012
As the newly elected mayor of Eagle, I obviously expected and knew that Eagle River Station would be the immediate topic of the day. I have been asked by both sides to come out either in favor of the project or to campaign against it.
I am taking a neutral position and I would like to explain why.
To begin with, my record on ERS is clear. I have voted against it twice as an Eagle trustee, and my reasons and deliberations on the file are a matter of public record.
I do not relish taking a neutral position on any topic as mayor and will weigh in decisively on future issues.
However, ERS is a different beast with a complicated civic history. I fundamentally believe that I was elected to make representative decisions and provide leadership.
The exception to that rule is this referendum vote because it is time to bring this community back together regardless of the outcome.
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This issue needs to be settled by a final vote of the citizens. This is a divisive issue in Eagle.
With either outcome, my goal is to calm the waters, mend fences, and bring our town back together after some dramatic strife.
With or without ERS, the town of Eagle will obviously survive. I’m not sure who gave Eagle the death sentence and pronounced that our community is dying or imminently dead, but this could not be further from the truth.
Our revenues have dropped over the last five years, but the entire world’s economy has also contracted. It’s not a big surprise that our small town has been affected by forces that truly extend around the world.
There is absolutely no truth to the claim that without ERS, Eagle will cease to be the great community that it is.
There is equally no truth that commercial development to the scale proposed by RED development inherently destroys community fabric.
Did Eagle perish because we didn’t annex the airport? Did we die because we didn’t approve a ski area up Brush Creek? Did we blow away in the wind because Costco is in Gypsum? Of course not.
My plea to the voters of Eagle is to vote your conscience on Tuesday based on the best information that you have.
Don’t simply listen to the developer. Don’t listen only to the opponents either.
Make up your own mind based on the core values and principles that you believe make up this great community. Do you want Eagle to continue to prosper, as I do? Do you believe that ERS can deliver its promise of tax revenues? Do you think that the proper scale has been approved? Do you think that the town faces no risk?
Regardless of the outcome, I am incredibly positive about the future of Eagle. We are the county seat. Our community is within 30 miles of two top 10 resorts in the world. We have a quality of life that is off the charts. We are at the center of the great Rocky Mountain playgrounds and have access to amazing terrain right outside of our doors. This is a great place to live. Our future is strong.
However you decide, make your voice heard and cast your vote. Though our citizens have taken opposite sides, they all have one very positive quality in common: passion.
While we argue, at our core we agree. We want to see our town continue to thrive and be a welcoming place for everyone. No matter the outcome, it is my hope to see all of our residents put their differences aside and find common ground in making our town the best that it can be.
Yuri Kostick is the mayor of Eagle.