New Eagle Terrain Park
ADA COUNTY -- Gateway Parks and the City of Eagle have spent the past several months working on a proposed snow terrain park in the old Velodrome site next to the foothills.
The park has the approval of the Eagle City Council, but the Ada County Commissioners are saying they aren't ready to sign off on the complex.
Larry Maneely, Chief of Staff for the Ada County Commissioners, said their problem with going forward on the Eagle terrain park comes down to the wording in their lease agreement, namely, the words "recreation" and "concessionaire."
"Our attorneys have a different interpretation of the word 'recreation,' as it applies here, to what their attorneys are interpreting," said Maneely. "Our attorneys have looked at the statute and say that the word recreation means 'free to the public' and this becomes a for-profit venture."
Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre, a former Eagle mayor, who was involved with the execution of the lease years ago, has a problem with the way the city of Eagle interpreted the word "concessionaire".
"The word 'concessionaire' was to revolve around someone selling refreshments, that this was to be open land used by the general public," Maneely said.
The Ada County Commissioners acknowledge that the snow park would not be the first or only for-profit venture on Ada County lands since there's Eply's Rentals at Barber Park, Le Bois Park and Hawks Stadium.
However, Maneely said this does set any kind of precedent for for-profit operations on county lands. "They're all different from each other, and they're all different from this."
The City of Eagle doesn't actually own the land where they plan to build the terrain park. That land belongs to Ada County. Ada County leases it to the city of Eagle for $1 a year, and because they still own the land, the commissioners are worried about liability.
"The county, as landowner, can never escape liability, and that's not been addressed in discussions that we've had but it is a concern that the commissioners have raised," said Maneely.
Sam Sandmire is a skier who went to several Eagle City Council meetings about the terrain park.
"I'm confused as to why Ada County is delaying this project because it's already been approved by the Eagle City Council," said Sandmire. "They have done their due diligence, they've gone through all of the steps and they approved it and they are the ones who hold the lease on the land."
Sandmire thinks this will be great for kids.
"Especially during the after school times, they'll be able to come over and ski for an hour or snowboard or tube for an hour or two and then go home and do their homework," Sandmire said. "It won't just be the Eagle kids who use this park, it'll be the whole valley."
However, for the City of Eagle and Ada County, it comes down to the contract.
"It really does come back to interpretation of the wording in the lease agreement, whether it all is appropriate for this kind of a venture," said Maneely. "Now they (The Ada County Commissioners) have to look like they're standing in the way of something that they really have taken no position on. They're still gathering information and looking forward to a day when they have enough information that they can make a good intelligent decision in the best interest of all the citizens of Ada County."