Vail Daily letter: Remodel existing clubhouse
Imagine having the most spectacular first tee shot in the valley, a clubhouse with a gorgeous and dramatic view, and the diminishing commodity of open space, and wanting to sell it off! That is exactly what many on Eagle-Vail’s board of governors are trying to do. In their infinite wisdom, they want to move the golf clubhouse down to the valley floor, sell off the land where the present golf clubhouse is and build a community center right smack in the middle of established neighborhoods. The cost? Well, they’re not too sure, but numbers have been tossed about from possibly costing $7.5 million-$12 million for these losses.
In addition to selling off invaluable assets in Eagle-Vail, they claim that the Eagle-Vail community needs a “community center” replete with a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, P.O. boxes, Nordic center and other commercial businesses. Really? In 2008, a group of developers from around the country were hired to study and give their opinion about what they see that Eagle-Vail needs. From that, the Urban Land Institute report was written. As this report outlines, these developers recommend a “growth strategy that results in ‘moderate’ expansion of approximately 500 units in Eagle-Vail’s housing stock over a 10-year period”. Moderate? This is the first step in unprecedented development of the eastern portions of Eagle-Vail. The ULI report is a frightening read. The community center is the first step recommended in this report that will effectively limit our open spaces, increase traffic on our roads and bring high density housing and commercial businesses to Eagle-Vail.
For many of us, urban development in Eagle-Vail seems irresponsible and very undesirable. We want to protect Eagle-Vail from that kind of development. We want to protect and maintain our open spaces. We already have the pavilion, which is a community center. Perhaps it does not meet the criteria for Zumba and yoga (cited as reasons to build this big, new center), but as we know, there are many nearby options for individuals looking for these kinds of classes. In addition to already having a community center, Eagle-Vail has a community pool, community tennis courts, and its world class golf course with its extraordinary first tee shot and unique and potentially gorgeous clubhouse with a spectacular view in its present location. The new 14,000-square-foot community center they envision will also be the new golf clubhouse. This makes perfect sense: Move the golf clubhouse to the valley floor — 0.41 miles to the present first tee — and put the golf snack/restaurant on the valley floor so the vacation golfer — and we do need the vacation golfer — can sit and have a beer, after a round of golf and look at condos and listen to all the commotion from the swimming pool and the highway.
Furthermore, their first choice for the location of this center is right where the tennis courts are. To put this commercial building right in the middle of a neighborhood and close to Homestake Peak School and eliminate the tennis courts is irresponsible. If the Eagle-Vail board of governors wants commercial businesses, put them in the business district which will benefit from increased traffic and leave the golf clubhouse where it is. There are plenty of places nearby for people to gather to have a coffee or a beer. There is no reason for the metro district to subsidize restaurants or coffee shops to compete with existing businesses.
To eliminate the tennis courts in Eagle-Vail further compromises recreation activities in the community. Basketball, ice skating and now tennis courts are on the chopping block. It would be a real loss to this community to eliminate the courts. Especially in order to build a center that will need revenue to run and people to supervise the kids that want to hang out in it.
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I am very concerned about this ill-advised, grandiose endeavor that will destroy the very thing that we all love and need to be protecting about Eagle-Vail. I hope that the Eagle-Vail board of governors will decide to remodel the present golf clubhouse, and leave as their legacy one of stewardship to our community and environment and not one of reckless development.