Aspenites fight ex-tennis star’s kid-camp deal |

Aspenites fight ex-tennis star’s kid-camp deal

Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post

ASPEN – The swimming pool is empty. The game room silent. And the only kids at the Silver Lining Ranch smile from hundreds of photographs posted on the walls.

For seven years, thousands of children suffering with cancer came to this ranch to enjoy Aspen’s mountain ambience in a swank facility owned by former child tennis prodigy Andrea Jaeger. Now, any silver lining for those cancer patients is clouded in a nasty land-use controversy.

A handful of Aspen’s uber-wealthy are blocking a real estate deal that would enable Jaeger to continue her altruistic work. Jaeger had contracted to sell the 6.5-acre piece of prime real estate to Aspen’s Chabad Jewish Community Center. The city-sanctioned deal would have brought $13.5 million to Jaeger’s cash-strapped Little Star Foundation. The money would have funded an endowment to pay for scholarships, medications and other aid for young cancer sufferers and would have allowed Jaeger to still use the ranch for camps a few weeks every year.

“Is it greed? I don’t know,” said Rabbi Mendel Mintz of the Chabad Jewish Center, who called the deal “a match made in heaven.”

Mintz had already entered into an escrow agreement with Jaeger when the other property owners in the Stillwater HOA that includes the Silver Lining Ranch “clarified” the covenants to restrict uses to either a facility for terminally ill children or a private residence. A synagogue with a day-care center, community rooms and a caretaker’s cabin would be an illegal use. The change was made after the city had approved modifications in the use for the Jewish center.

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