Daily Editorial: What Minturn owes itself
Vail CO, Colorado
The biggest thing to happen to Minturn since railroad lines were built deserves the full attention of the town. But neither the Town Council nor its residents are talking as much as they should about the private ski resort planned for south of town.
Town councilors say they can’t discuss the Ginn Development Co.’s application outside of public meetings, citing town code that forbids “ex parte communications.” But even residents who attend the public meetings say they have little sense of how individual council members feel about the project. That’s unfortunate, especially considering the council hopes to vote to annex the development in April.
But Minturnites also bear some responsibility for their lack of knowledge and understanding about the project. While Eagle residents turn out in droves to attend hearings about a project that would have similar implications for their town ” Eagle River Station ” most meetings about the Ginn project draw the same, small handful of citizens. Minturn residents should be much more involved in the process by attending meetings, asking questions and demanding that their elected officials communicate openly and thoroughly about how they are working to give Minturn the best deal they can. If not, they’ll have little leg to stand on when what’s approved isn’t what they want.
The good news is, both sides can fix this miscommunication ” or lack of communication ” problem.
If voters are to trust town councilors to make educated and thoughtful decisions on their behalf, then town councilors should give voters some sense of their opinions and how they came to them. It’s time the council open up about their questions and concerns about the Ginn project during town meetings. The town also should add some additional “open house”-style meetings for residents to attend.
Town staffers also need to answer the questions residents have instead of just pointing to Ginn representatives or directing them to piles of town documents. Residents need town staffers to provide reliable, clear and unbiased details presented in layman’s terms about what the ski resort/golf course community will look like and how it will operate.
Expecting residents to find answers to the questions themselves is unrealistic, and could create misunderstandings.
One resident suggested the town put a synopsis of the project on the Web. That’s a reasonable request given the complexity and the impact of this project.
And Minturn residents need to start attending the meetings, asking the questions and begin to consider if the Ginn’s plans really are right for the town.
In a county where second-home owners and retirees are flooding our towns and buying up property, where old buildings are being razed for modern condo and shopping buildings, Minturn has a real downtown, real year-round residents and a real sense of community pride.
Minturn residents and their Town Council need to work together to preserve what makes the town special. To do that, residents need as much information about the project as they can get ” not from Ginn representatives, who will only spin the positive ” but from the people they elected to represent them.
” Tamara Miller for the Editorial Board