Cash, crowds may accompany private resort
MINTURN – A private ski resort may bring dump trucks full of tax, sales and other revenues to Minturn, along with hundreds of new residents and employees. Although most new residents won’t be living in Minturn proper, some of the 850 full-time employees slated to work at the resort on Battle Mountain could live in town, according to a study prepared by town engineering firm Carter and Burgess, Inc.The study is based on information gathered from the resort’s developer, the Florida-based Ginn Company, and intended to determine economic and other impacts the annexation and development of Battle Mountain could have on Minturn. Details of the development outlined in the study may change and no formal approvals have been given by the town council.Ginn Company officials have tentatively proposed a private ski resort, golf course and 1,700 luxury homes south of town located on the mountain village, around Bolts Lake and at Gilman. Gilman and Bolts Lake will be connected to the mountain village by a gondola.Of over 5,000 acres on the mountain owned by Ginn, the town council has begun reviewing whether approximately 4,300 acres should become a part of town.Economic impactThe town study shows when the Ginn development is finished, Minturn could earn $6 million in revenues, mostly from property and Real Estate Transfer taxes.What would Minturn do if they had the money now? Although the decision ultimately rests with the Town Council, Town Manager Ann Capela said dilapidated sewer and water systems need to be updated as well as services such as police and fire protection.”What I would look at is trying to ensure the town’s infrastructure is sound,” Capela said.
Indeed municipal services such as water, sewer, police and others would have to be upgraded not only for the town but extended to the Battle Mountain resort as well, the study shows. Recreation-wise, projects on the town wish list include a bike path from Dowd Junction to Red Cliff at a price of $2.8 million, an amount the town can’t afford now, Capela said. Other recreation ideas include more and better parks, an amphitheater and an indoor pool.”I think with steady revenue Minturn residents will be able to realize this wish list,” Capela said.The project should also bring additional traffic to local businesses. The developer has plans for 60,000-square feet of new businesses within the resort.”Retail and restaurant space will be sized to accommodate guests and distributed to reflect the needs of each location,” according to the study. “The project is not expected to attract regional shoppers or compete with existing stores.”Rebecca Callender, owner of Antique Accents in Minturn, said she doesn’t expect the resort businesses to compete with her Main Street shop. In fact, Callender said her business – which has been suffering lately – could pick up with increased traffic due to the development.”On a Sunday afternoon if (new residents) are bored at their homes, they’ll say let’s go down to the little antique store down in Minturn,” Callender said.New residents and visitors traveling through Minturn will create added traffic on Highway 24, but they will also check out local businesses, the study shows.”While it is unlikely that local merchants will capture 100 percent of the spending of residents and visitors to the project, it is highly likely that they could capture a significant share were the environment created to accommodate and support these businesses,” according to the report.Ginn officials have said a traffic study will be completed sometime in the near future.
Upon completion of the project, Ginn officials anticipate an average of 3,000 people during the winter and 2,500 during the summer seasons, respectively. Less than 1,000 people are expected to visit a day during the off-season. Full-time residents should number 430.Employees in MinturnWhile the Ginn residents and visitors will be outside downtown, the project is expected to bring 850 employees needing places to live, whether that be in town or elsewhere in Eagle County and the surrounding region, according to the study.Callender said whether it’s residents of the resort or employees, any increase in traffic for local business is good. “Anybody coming to town, they’re going to buy a cup of coffee or have a croissant over at Harry’s Bump and Grind,” she said.If Ginn employees live in Minturn, they will be more likely to spend money there and “… the extent to which their employment income affects the Town of Minturn will depend on the local housing opportunities available to them,” according to the study.The Ginn Company plans to stimulate increased affordable housing, likely outside the resort, and will work with the town to define appropriate amounts, values and locations for the housing, the study shows.Capela said she foresees Ginn employees living in Minturn, elsewhere in Eagle County and Leadville, depending on housing availability and what they can afford. Where exactly the housing goes up depends on the market, Capela said.”The way I look at it, the economy will do what the economy will do,” she said.To accommodate the possible influx of residents, Capela said new private services and businesses will be needed, including doctors, dentists, attorneys and grocery stores.
“If there’s a population growth those are the first things that are impacted,” Capela said.Student increase?The number of students at local schools is not expected to increase significantly due to Ginn residents because most are likely to be retired without school-age children. How many kids will be sent to school by resort employees has not yet been determined, the study shows. “It is likely that a portion of this employment force will reside in Minturn and/or Eagle County on a full-time basis and that this population increase may impact the Eagle County School District,” according to the study.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado