Ginn focus of candidate forum
MINTURN ” The private ski resort planned for Battle Mountain was the star of Tuesday night’s Minturn Town Council candidates’ forum though neither the developer nor the blueprints were present.
Most of the six candidates for council and one for mayor ” mayoral candidate George Brodin did not attend ” agreed developer Bobby Ginn’s vast property south of town should become a part of Minturn. That would keep decisions in Minturn’s hands, rather than the county’s, and give the town an opportunity to shape the project how they see fit, said candidates Kelly Brinkerhoff and Kristi Bloodworth (both attorneys), and Floyd Duran, who owns a trucking business.
But candidate David Clapp, a bartender at Minturn’s Chili Willy’s, said the 1,700 homes proposed are too many and will hurt the town if built.
“It depends what the development level is, is where the problem lies,” Clapp said.
Candidate Shelley Bellm, a medical coder, said revenues generated by the project might help town services. Councilman Bill Burnett, who is retired and running for re-election, said Minturn could also make money selling water to Ginn’s resort.
Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty, who works for the town of Vail’s public works department, refused to comment on the Ginn project because, he said, Town Attorney Allen Christensen told him not to talk to anyone about the proposal. Besides, nobody knows what Ginn plans to do because the blueprints have not been submitted yet, Flaherty said.
“How can you support something when you don’t have the facts,” Flaherty said. “I’m trying to remain fair and impartial.”
The candidates also thought Minturn residents should have the final vote on the matter. Many pointed to the RV park voted down by residents in 2004 as an example of putting the decision in the hands of residents.
“I think citizens should have some say in the decision,” Bellm said.
If the people want to vote, Flaherty said he will support the vote. But Brinkerhoff said if Minturnites help shape the project a vote might not be necessary.
Candidates were also asked what can be done to fill empty storefronts on Main Street. Flaherty, Duran and Brinkerhoff said the town has to make it easier to open a business.
Burnett said there were too many antique shops, and maybe the town needs stores with pies and donuts. Others, such as Bellm and Brinkerhoff, called for unique stores people would travel to visit.
The Eagle River and hiking trails also must be advertised to bring people to Minturn, Clapp said.
Events must be created to bring more people to town to increase shopping, Brinkerhoff and Bloodworth said. Brinkerhoff said she’d like to see bike races and lectures in town.
Parking also must be easier for people coming to Minturn, Flaherty said.
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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