As an owner of an historic home in downtown Eagle and a retail business in Eagle County, I am adamantly opposed to a large scale regional retail center in Eagle for three main reasons.First, I can attest to the serious shortage of qualified retail workers for existing Eagle County businesses. The Bookworm of Edwards has experienced growing challenges with regard to attracting and maintaining qualified workers. These challenges have only increased in the past three years. The higher cost of living and escalating housing prices exacerbate the existing shortage. In an upscale lifestyle center such as the one proposed by the developers of Eagle River Station, consistent and quality customer service are paramount to success. There simply are not enough workers available to Eagle County employers to maintain success in the proposed labor-intensive development.Next, I oppose this scale of development in our community because I do not believe we can afford to gamble our open space in such volatile times. National retailers are initiating a major slowdown in new retail space development. Among those who have cancelled projects, pulled out of previous commitments or adjusted their expansion plans in the last year are operations as diverse as Kohls, Home Depot, Starbucks, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Walgreens, Tiffany & Co., and Dicks Sporting Goods. Finally, I urge the town trustees to deny approval to Eagle River Station based on the financial needs of our community today and in the future. The town of Eagle will be lucky to net $1 million in sales tax annually from the proposed project after rebates for infrastructure and more realistic sales levels are taken into consideration. This is simply not enough.Why should the residents of Eagle need to carry the burden of this controversial, at best, development? Cost / revenue-sharing deals are not in Eagles best interest. Think of it this way: if the project were approved, the town could let the developers take the risk on their own and let business pay for business. If Eagle were the right place for this project, then everyone would make their share including the town of Eagle.
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