Hopes for new sidewalks, rec center | VailDaily.com

Hopes for new sidewalks, rec center

J.K. Perry
Preston Utley/Vail DailyMinturn stands to benefit greatly from tax revenues generated by the Ginn Company's development of Battle Mountain.

MINTURN ” Minturn stands to benefit financially from development of a private ski resort on Battle Mountain, and residents and business owners want new sidewalks.

Other improvements they want include new parks, a recreation center, river access, a better water system and more.

“In a dream world I’d like to see brand new sidewalks all across town,” resident David Clapp said.

Most important to resident Clapp is spiffing up infrastructure, otherwise known as sidewalks, buried electrical lines, and a new sewer treatment plant, which is already planned. Parts of Minturn either don’t have sidewalks or have crumbling sidewalks.

Resident and business owner Harry Gray also wants new sidewalks, streetlights and the “exorbitant” price of water reduced. A recreation center also topped his list.

“You ought to be able to get on exercise bikes, climb a wall or play basketball ” that’s not too much to ask for,” Gray said.

The Ginn Co. hopes to annex 4,300 acres on Battle Mountain to develop 1,700 homes, ski terrain, a golf course and employee housing. If the town approves annexation and development, the money produced from the private ski resort might pay for the improvements.

BBC Research, a Denver-based resort consulting firm, performed an economic study on behalf of the Ginn Co. The firm estimated the resort will generate $6.9 million a year in excess of expenses for Minturn. The revenues come mostly from property tax, sales tax and taxes from selling real estate.

Worst-case scenario, Minturn makes $3.7 million a year in revenues once the resort is completed. To put the numbers in perspective, Minturn generated around $1.3 million in revenues in 2006, not even enough to cover budget expenses.

A new recreation center topped resident Bec Jones wish list. Other items included studying the potential landslide on Meadow Mountain and fixing it, as well as a center for underserved seniors to gather.

“Minturn has a lot of elderly people,” Jones said. “They need something more of a senior facility.”

While Eagle County’s second-highest property tax at nearly 18 percent doesn’t concern Clapp, it does bother Gray. Paying for $14,000 in taxes per year on the building which houses Harry’s Bump and Grind with money generated from a coffee shop is difficult he said.

“Minturn right now is anti-business from the standpoint they don’t do anything for businesses,” Gray said.

Minturn businesses in general struggle with little foot traffic, which might increase with development of the ski resort. In the meantime, businesses will continue to struggle, Gray said.

“It’s easy to say in five, seven, eight, 10 years the future is bright, but where are we in the next three years?”

Once sidewalks are improved, Saloon owner Andy Kaufman wants new parks to supplement Little Beach Park and the Eagle Street park.

“It’d be nice to find some space for pocket parks in neighborhoods so kids have a place to play,” Kaufman said.

Parking, always in short supply in Minturn, also concerns Kaufman.

“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed in a collective manner and if the town could bring together a task force that would be wise,” Kaufman said. “Quite possibly if there is that type of money then making land purchases or improvements (to parking) are certainly conceivable.”

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado

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