I am disillusioned enough to know that no man’s opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he’s talking about. - H. P. Lovecraft
For some time now, I have really been enjoying learning Spanish and I find I mix up my language at times including when I say Si! Si! Maybe to finally get a yes vote at 200 Broadway, I should try voting en espanol. Otherwise, I’m worried a yes ain’t ever gonna happen on issues that I actually support but that I do not feel comfortable with the information or that a reasonable public process was had to vote in the affirmative.
Instead of getting into more thoughts on what transpired at the latest Board of Trustees meeting in the last few hours, I’m simply going to post what I read into the record. As always, it might not be word for word as I still get the freak nervous when speaking in public!
And acutally I do know it isn’t word for word because I did try to skip some items discussed at the meeting before the comments. But you get the gist.
Mayor, I’d like to make some comments for the record. As I have done previously, I will apologize for reading instead of just speaking but I find it is better if I read so as not to miss items. And if some of these items were covered tonight already during the discussion, I’ll do my best to skip them as this was prepared based on the info in our packets.
To start, I will say I do support the concept for trails and I completely support the High School Cycling Championships coming to Eagle. I hope we knock that event out of the park and I think spending funds towards such events is and will be a wonderful use/result of the lodging tax the voters passed. However, I think when spending the money to boost our recreation tourism, we should not forget other recreation that has more of a history here in Eagle and that brings in millions of dollars to our regional economy. From what I understand, The Nearly Everything Store sells a lot of hunting licenses. Hunting of course depends on wildlife and when making decisions on trails, we should have a process which considers the entire picture and not just one angle such as mountain biking. Or vice versa. I’ll also add that I don’t think any end result, regardless of how much it is supported, is worth not having a good public process.
For this particular issue, I’m still confused as to how if at all this relates to the trails management plan review process. I did understand from staff and the Town attorney that the use of these funds is legal but I would have liked to have had at least some discussion on whether or not this was the intent of the ballot language/voters having a trail that can be revoked on private non-Town property and if previous decisions dollars to be spent for doing sign or maintenance work on BLM property followed had the same conclusion. I would like it noted for the record, I voted for and I still support the Trails Management Plan being under the Board of Trustees instead of Planning & Zoning. But if this is the new process, it seems to have missed a step or two including what I thought was the most important thing that came out of the twice reviewed Hernage Trail and that is to invite stakeholders into the discussion. For this trail, I would have thought at least the Department of Wildlife and Eagle County would have been asked to comment on the trail proposal.
I also believe that we should have understood the details of the contract before us tonight before voting. And it seems odd to me that we have not yet even begun to discuss issues related to trail management cost, whether dogs or horses are allowed, whether there are seasonal closures – a couple of articles that have hit regionally if not nationally state the trail is open year round multi-use, where trail parking is, who will manage this, signage, etc… Some of these discussion items may or may not be important enough to change a vote on a particular trail as was evident with the Hernage Trail outcome.
Although I think there might be even more issues not yet touched on, I will add only one more: the upcoming Haymeadow file review and how it fits into the discussion, especially considering the size of this trail investment. I was a little uncomfortable in this area by trying not to discuss the trail related to the project/land as I understood we should refrain from talking about an open/pending land use file but the two seem directly related.
I did do my best to get information on several of these topics but was unsuccessful or it seemed out of step of the decision making required. I feel for the public who might think a decision was made without key information and discussion being presented beforehand.
Again, I fully support trails (for those that do not know, I run and mountain bike on trails regularly) and yes, as said, I hope we have a tremendously successful biking championship here.
But I also hope that if we review trails or any other issue in the future, we have input, information, and answers before voting instead of after. Because if most things are discussed or considered after a vote, should we expect anyone to think it is worth their time to participate in the public process?
Thank you for allowing these comments into the record.