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An end and beginning

The next step in the development of the Brush Creek Valley south of Eagle officially starts now.

As you may have read — in either this newspaper or our sister paper, the Free Enterprise — developer Fred Kummer recently sold his company’s Brush Creek holdings to Brue Capital, a Denver-based company. Those holdings include the Adam’s Rib Country Club, several homes, many more home sites and a 1,500-acre working ranch. Those holdings also include approvals for roughly 200 homes on the property’s 2,650 acres.

The buy was an incredible deal for Brue, which paid $21 million for the property and buildings. In an interview with the Saint Louis Business Journal, Kummer said his company, HBE Corp., had put about $100 million into various plans in the Brush Creek Valley.

And what plans they were.

When Kummer in the 1970s first started buying property in Eagle County, there were plans for a Beaver Creek-sized ski area on Adam Mountain, on the way to Yeoman Park up East Brush Creek. Those plans were derailed in part by the concerted efforts of a group of Eagle-area residents, some of who still proudly own “Save an Eagle, break a Rib” T-shirts.

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Supporters believed Kummer’s plans would be an economic boon for the Eagle area and were just as fervent in their support. Several friendships were severed because of the debate.

Kummer, meanwhile, was occasionally his own worst enemy, such as the time in one public hearing he said a new road would be built to the resort. That road, he said, would be similar to State Highway 82 between Basalt and Aspen — this at the time that stretch of highway was known as “Killer 82.”

There were long, long meetings of the Eagle County commissioners and the Eagle Town Board, all dedicated to hashing out the complexities of plans that would change the face of the Brush Creek Valley.

After untold hours with local government and courts, and who knows how much public money dedicated to Kummer’s plans, the public actually has a pretty good deal.

Instead of a ski area, 1,700 acres of East and West Brush Creek is public land, Sylvan Lake State Park. Instead of multiple golf courses, there’s just one — a beauty, from the looks of it. And instead of several hundred homes, current approvals call for about 200.

That’s not the level of preservation some opponents still long for, but it’s not a full-blown resort, either. And we do have that remarkable state park.

It’s been fascinating to watch Kummer’s plans, and the public’s responses, evolve over the years. We’ll be intrigued to see what the new owners have in mind. What we do know is that after several years of relative stasis, the Brush Creek Valley is set to change.


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