Carnes: Minturn’s ball is in the people’s court | VailDaily.com
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Carnes: Minturn’s ball is in the people’s court

Ginnturn: Reality or fiction? In one week we will know, or at least pretend to know, the answer.

Will voters emerge from under their 50-year old crumbling sidewalks to throw the council’s decisions back in their elected faces, or will they swarm to the voting booth in an attempt to “guarantee” a Minturn future promising $50 ski passes and a second home owner in every pot?

As I have mentioned in the past, I was on the Avon Town Council from the beginning all the way to the end of negotiations involving Magnus Lindholm and his Village at Avon project, which at that point was the largest annexation to occur in the state of Colorado.

And as most of you no doubt are aware, hindsight is little more than polished regret obtained through the benefit of experience, so you already know we made enough mistakes back then to publish a bestselling book titled “How to Lose Friends and Alienate Constituents through Annexation Agreements Without Really Trying!”

Even so, the town is still there.

Legalized blackmail is how I referred to it at one point, as we found ourselves the recipients of a, “My way or the highway” approach, with Lindholm singing Sinatra and Eagle County offering the kind of deal that would make Donald Trump jealous.

The abject fear of not having any control over 1,800 acres with a contiguous border to the town, thus loosing the long-term potential cash cow of tax revenue, was very real, and stood to possibly bankrupt Avon over time if the project proceeded outside of its control.

The good people of Avon shouted their honest fears of construction, construction traffic, hundreds of new workers and where they would live, massive traffic jams at the roundabouts, increased crime, higher rents, cats and dogs living together, yada-yada-yada.

But like hollow promises made in a Vegas strip club, not much really happened.

Ten years later, we have a relocated Wal-Mart along with Home Depot and a few restaurants under a dead grass roof.

Oh, the horror.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am certainly not attempting to trivialize the fact that Minturn is at a major crossroads in its 100-plus year history. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Minturnites have every right to be strongly concerned over the proposed density, the 195-foot tall building, golf courses on top of toxic waste dumps, the EPA clean up, their property values, their water and sewer issues, the increased traffic and all of its related problems.

Where will the hundreds of new employees come from and where will they live? Will they be lured away from Vail Resorts, causing an even bigger employee problem than is all but already guaranteed to happen next winter because of the Epic Pass?

What will happen to Minturn’s small-town character and charm?

On the other hand, the mines are gone, the trains are gone, and the economy is on a downhill slide filled with teetering dominos.

Bobby Ginn is not a savior by any stretch of the imagination, and one should not dare to harbor delusions of any sort that the man’s methods are altruistic as opposed to profit-oriented.

He is a businessman, plain and simple, and is extremely successful in most every venture he attempts.

The long-term viability of Minturn as a going concern (on a municipal level) hangs somewhat precariously in the balance, and over $180 million for all sorts of goodies is tempting, indeed.

But if approved by the voters, it will take years and years for the impacts to show any real relevance, both positive and negative.

So whether you are a fan of the Frank Lorenti/Pete Vance team or a starry-eyed speculator salivating over profit potential and cheap ski and golf tickets, just please think it through before voting.

Minturn existed long before Ginn, and will still exist long after Ginn, and its citizens alone hold the power next Tuesday to determine at what level.

NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper…but for some amicable reason, he thinks they should be.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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