Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Ballot Issue 1
While I support the idea of an Eagle water park, I cannot support the current plan or funding mechanism. Proponents of the water park bring up the enhancements that the communities of Golden, Buena Vista, Salida, and Durango have built and the increased revenue that occurred afterwards. There are some major differences between those communities and ours. Initially, none of those communities spent more than $800,000 and yet they received significant economic and recreational benefit. Each of those communities had retail or commercial zoning in place before embarking on any improvement project and in most of these communities they had retail zoning on both sides of the river. Eagle’s proposal has no such zoning in place and if approved will permanently prevent such zoning from the north side of the Eagle River, limiting the potential benefit of the improvements. Additionally, each of these communities utilized a collaborative and cooperative partnership with numerous local, regional, and state organizations to receive upfront monies and support. Eagle’s proposal has few of those upfront commitments.
At some point in the next 20 years, Highway 6 will be expanded to four lanes. When that occurs there will be a substantial disconnect between the downtown and any park or development along the south side of the river.
Over the next several months, at least, two other sizeable tax increases will face the voters of Eagle. The school district may put forth a tax increase in the November exceeding $100 million and a countywide service district is looking at a multi-million dollar increase in May.
The Town of Eagle Board of Trustees has a recent history of untrustworthiness and poor stewardship of the public’s money. They have awarded no bid contracts in which a member of the board subsequently received a job, violated Colorado law, and terminated a town manager essentially for small-minded politics. Any development proposal put forth by this town board should be met with a significant dose of skepticism and doubt as to whom it will truly benefit.
I believe it is in voters’ best interest if we wait until a new board of trustees is elected that can then develop a comprehensive plan that includes many partners, with the proper riverfront zoning, and a better funding mechanism.
I urge you to vote “no” on 1.
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