Minturn candidate: Scherr wants residents to help lead
MINTURN, Colorado Matt Scherr wants Minturn to be a small town again. Minturn has a historical idea of itself as a place where people spend time together, but now its a worker community or whatever it is, Scherr said. Scherr has listened when Minturns older folks have talked about how there used to be a grocery store and a movie theater, and when neighbors used to spend more time together.Minturn has to recapture that sense of community that it used to have, he said.
The current community I think needs to rediscover itself, Scherr said. Scherr, a Minturn resident for almost six years, is a new candidate for Minturn Town Council. Scherr, executive director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, started as the environmental organizations only employee in 2004 with a $60,000 budget. The organization now has a $380,000 budget with seven employees under Scherrs leadership, he said. Scherr and his wife, Diane, also spend time caring for their daughter, Piper, 4, and son, Duncan, 2. Instead of sitting in front of their televisions, people need to get out and talk to each other in bars and restaurants and during holiday celebrations to figure out what Minturn is all about, he said. Politicians take too much ownership and responsibility in their jobs instead, they have to educate their constituents on the governmental process so that residents can help make decisions, Scherr said. The communitys got to be the ones to do it, Scherr said. As a politician you can facilitate that to try and put it back on the people.A sense of community will do more for business and the towns economy, he said. What businesses are going to need is crowds, Scherr said. What crowds sometimes here are drawn to is that authentic mountain community experience.Scherr also doesnt want developers to control what Minturn looks like. Thats residents job, but first residents have to figure out what they want Minturn to look like, he said.Thats part of what I think Minturn is struggling with now, he said.
VD: The Ginn Development Co. wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course in Minturn. Do you support the current agreements between councilors and Ginn, such as their annexation agreement and traffic management, employee housing and wildlife plans? Why or why not?MS: Yes. If the question is framed, Would you have voted the same way, I cant say. Town councilors have done an extraordinary amount of work and Im not as well-informed, obviously, as they were to make all of those decisions. My sense of it is that they did about the best you could have expected given the situation.The trouble with the decision they had to make is you have to guess on that undiscovered country. You dont know: Would the county allow that development? Would Ginn have gone to Red Cliff if Minturn had turned them down? Its one of those decisions where the devil you know is better than the devil you dont. VD: Ginn has made several promises, such as housing 50 percent of its employees, providing a ski pass for residents and using green-building standards. What would you do to make sure that Ginn fulfills those promises if the project is eventually approved?MS: You know that traffic is going to increase thats it. The original deal was you exceed your traffic budget and you get fined. That clearly wasnt a very good deal. So the town said, OK, not only will you get a fine, we can withhold your certificates of occupancy. You can build all you want, but you cant use your buildings. That gives Ginn proper incentive. Theyre using technology to actually track those cars and its measured on a daily basis. Going forward with any of those other types of decisions, just follow that model: Be able to measure it so youve got a legal leg to stand on and have a consequence thats meaningful to the applicant. VD: Other than the Ginn development, what is the most important issue or problem facing Minturn in the coming years? Why is it important? How do you plan to address the issue or problem?MS: Your biggest issue for people is small-town character. Itll go two directions, Ginn will get approved and all of the sudden weve got all sorts of money. When youre not used to having money, dangerous things can happen, so how do we grow that way? The other situation is Ginn doesnt happen and were still a town without enough money to provide essential services. Our infrastructure is beyond crumbling. How do you hold up that town without sacrificing what it is that makes that town enjoyable? Then its where do you spend the very little money that we have? VD: What qualifies you for the role of town councilor?MS: On paper, the last six years Ive spent doing the nonprofit stuff and almost the last four years running the things: run the budgets, design them and report to a higher authority. That particular role I think is close to what a council person does. In the end, its someone who has a particular passion for the community itself. For me thats the biggest qualification.Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or email@example.com.
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