Vail Daily letter: Eagle-Vail can’t afford the cost of trail extension
Eagle-Vail can’t afford new trail
Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
At first glance, the Eagle-Vail trail extension looks like a great idea. It will complete a trail that begins at Meadow Mountain and ends on the west side of Eagle-Vail. Great. Everyone loves trails.
Unfortunately, like most things in life, there’s a “but wait.” In reality, the financial health of Eagle-Vail is, at best, precarious. Because of years of mismanagement, poor governance, pet projects, secret agendas and bloated salaries, Eagle-Vail is now facing an $750,000 deficit in fiscal 2018. Obviously, there is no money to build the trail. Eagle-Vail cannot possibly pay for it. Jeff Layman told the community that Minturn would help pay for it. But they are not. While the community manager is expected to raise funds for Eagle-Vail, he has not. And neither the EVMB, nor the EVPOA has been able to bring financial health to Eagle-Vail.
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For years, because of mismanagement and reckless agendas, Eagle-Vail’s outstanding assets and amenities have been grossly neglected. Finally, after years of squandering money on wasteful and superfluous things such as the 5A campaign, pocket park projects that have resulted in disappointment, an expensive and wasteful survey, StratOps to help the board members work better together, defeat of the sales tax and irresponsible management of the Pavilion, the Metro Board finally did what they are tasked with doing: taking care of one of our major assets, by replacing the tennis courts. At long last, the courts, being an advertised recreational amenity in Eagle-Vail, are in process of being replaced and restored to full use.
Which gets me back to the new trail. There is no money. Why would community manager Jeff Layman and Metro Board president Chuck Toms even contemplate building a new trail now, knowing that it will cost Eagle-Vail about $80,000? Furthermore, to give lip service to closing the regularly used, single track Whiskey Creek Trail, demonstrates a clear lack of understanding and consideration to hikers and cyclists who don’t want to be forced onto a mainstream, multiuser trail. Preserving freedom, variety and options should always be the goal.
There is no money for new projects. Eagle-Vail must fix and maintain the recreational assets and amenities we have now — which includes the Willow Creek Par 3, the Eagle-Vail golf course, the tennis/pickle ball facility and the swimming pool — before looking at new projects. Along with the other elected officials, Chuck Toms and Jeff Layman must demonstrate that they understand this, and must stop wasting money on pet projects. No new trails, no buried power lines, no extravagant new buildings, no new pocket parks. If, in the distant future, Eagle-Vail’s financial health has been improved, by responsible, intelligent and educated leadership, then it may be the right time to look at building the new trail. But not until then. Eagle-Vail can no longer rob Peter to pay Paul.
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