Letter: What’s best for Minturn | VailDaily.com

Letter: What’s best for Minturn

Minturn Town Council
Minturn, CO Colorado

Thank you for the opportunity to speak directly to the Minturn citizens we represent.

As with most representative bodies, we are a group of your neighbors working hard to decide what is in the best interest of our community. Like most representative bodies, our individual beliefs and interests are varied and many. However, in this instance, all of us currently serving on town council agree that annexing the Battle Mountain area into the town of Minturn and granting preliminary approval of Ginn’s proposed development is of paramount importance for our community’s future.

We all agree in the fundamental rights of private property. Battle Mountain is private property and has been for as long as all of us can remember. It is significant that Battle Mountain, as well as our own town, is situated between two world-class ski areas. It is reasonable to assume this land would eventually be developed and we would suffer the multitude of impacts that accompany development. It is because of this that the town council used the opportunity of the Ginn applications to gain and exert considerable control over the development on Battle Mountain and its impacts on Minturn. Approving the annexation has allowed us to address thoroughly and in detail how the impacts on traffic and wildlife will be mitigated in order to protect our quality of life to the highest degree possible. It gives the town a real game plan for cleaning up the Eagle Mine Superfund Site with private funds that will improve water quality and increase the health of aquatic life in the Eagle River. Employee housing is addressed for both Ginn employees and Red Cliff and Minturn town employees at levels never seen before in Eagle County. There are provisions for the rehabilitation of Bolts Lake for the storage of water; a new water plant; the construction of bike trails; new sidewalks; a recreation and community center; a day care center; a library; completion of Little Beach Park; school impact fees and even $350,000 for scholarships for Minturn residents, to name a few.

There are plans in place for the long-term funding of projects through a General Improvement District that will tax the Battle Mountain property owners without increasing taxes of our current Minturn residents. We’ve heard the comments that we sold our soul. We disagree and think we did everything to protect it. If we had not annexed this project and Eagle County or Red Cliff controlled the development, there would be no way we could protect what we cherish most about Minturn. Our quality of life could be devastated and Minturn turned into nothing more than a truck stop on the way to Battle Mountain. We weren’t willing to take that chance. We also believe that a vast majority of you would have made the same decision, which is why you elected us to represent you.

For years Ginn has been a topic of discussion in our town. For years Ginn has formally had applications submitted to the town. Our neighbors on the planning commission studied and made a recommendation for approval of the Ginn development with strict conditions, most of which were kept. Comments from agencies as varied as Eagle County and the Colorado Division of Wildlife were considered. This project has been the subject of thousands of hours of review by staff and consultants and elected and appointed citizens. Because of this diligence we believe we’ve made the right decision for our future.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

It was frustrating not being able to speak to you “over the backyard fence” during this process. As you know, we were acting as a “quasi judicial” body and, much like being on a jury, we could only discuss this issue in the formal confines of an official hearing. It was also extremely important that we preserve our bargaining power during often tense negotiations with the Ginn group on how we wanted to alter the project to best serve the residents of Minturn and Red Cliff. However, now that the hearings have closed, we are free to discuss the project and answer your questions. We want to invite you to an informal meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Minturn Community Center to continue to discuss our future and our decision to annex the Battle Mountain property into Minturn.

Finally, we would like to thank you, our neighbors and fellow citizens, for giving us your opinions, thoughts and concerns. Thank you for reading the articles and watching the meetings on Channel 5. Thanks for coming to meetings and speaking your peace. You never let us forget the vast spectrum of views we represent and for that we are grateful.

Minturn Town Council

Hawkeye Flaherty, Mayor

George Brodin, Mayor Pro Tem

Shelley Bellm, Council Member

Kelly Brinkerhoff, Council Member

Bill Burnett, Council Member

Jerry Bumgarner, Council Member

Tom Sullivan, Council Member

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