Vail Valley Voices: Opponent questions ERS |

Vail Valley Voices: Opponent questions ERS

Jan Rosenthal Townsend
Vail, CO, Colorado

I agree with Jeff McMahon’s statement that RED didn’t start the “City Market is moving to Gypsum” rumor. But for sure they stood by and fueled the fire.

It’s public knowledge via his posts on Facebook that our former mayor acknowledged talking with City Market months ago and waited to talk about all this with Joe Public just weeks before next week’s Eagle River Station election.

As most know, Joel Starbuck, an executive with Kroger, made an appearance in Town Hall and announced that City Market, although they would like to expand in the future, have “absolutely no intention of moving the Eagle store to Gypsum and that they are staying regardless of the vote on May 22.”

Even after that monumental positive announcement (video can be viewed at, several past and present trustees, the former mayor, along with staunch supporters of ERS, still continue to cast doubts about them staying in Eagle. Watch the yes side’s video ( to see examples such as Joyce Chizmadia’s comment, “City Market has already stated that they’re moving to Gypsum or they’d like to move to ERS.” This is a totally untrue.

In reference to the Tower Center comments, thanks for the chuckle, Jeff. Again, how dumb do you think we Eagle folk are? You really think we are buying your statement wherein you said, “Our interest in Tower Center has no direct impact on ERS whatsoever”?

John Chizmadia’s letter on May 16 disregards all of the salient points that several opposition letters have listed, including how many national agencies have proven how big-scale projects desecrate local communities.

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Yet, he mentions several “no” letters which show some alternatives to ERS, as being “last minute”and “pretty shallow.” The fact is that there have been several viable alternatives pertaining to increasing revenue in Eagle for at least five years now.

Just a few, for example, are infill and renovation-development on Highway 6, a smaller east Eagle project with just one or two national retailers (stores that are “unique” and that can’t be found within a two-hour drive); a conference-wellness center with sports-related events and tournaments (which create heads in beds and trickle-down economic effects); larger events (for instance, the Teva Games produce several million dollars in just one long weekend); something more equestrian-related (in keeping with our ranching heritage); and one of the best ideas yet, incorporating the fairgrounds with a connector to downtown, alongside a well-thought-out mixed-use specialty retail center.

There are other ideas too, but nothing got discussed because our town leaders were too busy shoving ERS 1.0 and 2.0 down our throats. But big ideas don’t happen overnight. On top of that, the economy took a major dive and there’s been no recovery yet.

Regarding the mention of impacts on local businesses, as a local Eagle retailer since 1999 I find it amusing that the Chizmadias can be so bullish on a mega mall when they couldn’t even keep a store in Eagle open several years ago — and that was before the recession! Case in point: It ain’t easy being in business these days and ERS on the outskirts of town, with its own interchange, will not help the existing five business districts in Eagle, nor will it help with Eagle’s (and the rest of the county’s) rampant vacancy rates and current struggling retailers and restaurants.

McMahon’s May 16 letter stated “its important to keep existing retailers in Eagle healthy and successful where they are.” Really Jeff?

It is extremely sad to see what RED and some of our town leaders have done to our town. ERS has indeed created the division in our community. It is also having a countywide impact on all businesses.

Other retailers are paying very close attention to what’s happening here in Eagle, as they are feeling the negative impacts of the continuing debacle at Traer Creek in Avon. It’s town against town, neighbor against neighbor, business against business and it has taken an extreme toll on all of us who care so deeply about our county, our hometown and our local businesses.

I can only hope that regardless of the outcome of the vote on May 22, our present leaders will help guide our town toward a more positive path for a brighter future.

I still urge all voters to vote “no” — again — and then let’s come together and compromise on a project and other ideas that can be sustainable now … and for generations to come.

Jan Rosenthal Townsend is a resident of the greater Eagle neighborhood the Kaibab.