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Minturn candidates consider housing

Steve Lynn
Minturn, CO Colorado
NWS Minturn Candidate Forum RM 3-27-08
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MINTURN ” How Minturn will grow in the face of a private ski resort in the coming years was the focus of questions people asked Minturn Town Council candidates Thursday night.

Candidates agreed they wanted growth, but they wanted to balance it with what they like about Minturn: its history, buildings, homes, businesses and wealth of full-time residents.

“We’re an envy of the valley because we’re a community with a long and rich history, and our character reflects that,” Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty said.

Four council seats ” including mayor ” are up for grabs in the April 8 election at Minturn Town Center. Flaherty and Town Councilwoman Shelley Bellm are running for mayor.

Incumbents George Brodin ” who did not attend the forum ” and Jerry Bumgarner and challengers David Clapp and Matt Scherr are running for Town Council seats. Councilors answered residents’ questions as fewer than a dozen people watched.

Moderator Mark Tamberino, a board member of the Minturn-Red Cliff Business Association, asked how candidates will address the need for employee housing.

Town Councilman Jerry Bumgarner said Minturn already has employee housing ” “three or four” apartments for the town’s staff in Minturn Town Center.

“It doesn’t look like there’s a big need,” he said. “We have very few employees.”

Minturn will get more employee housing when Ginn Development Co. builds housing for 50 percent of its workers in Minturn, he said. Bumgarner wants to keep as open space the majority the U.S. Forest Service land it plans to buy with millions in revenue from Ginn, he said.

Ginn has plans to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course on and around Battle Mountain, south of downtown Minturn. Town councilors annexed 4,300 acres of Ginn’s property into Minturn in February.

Bellm said that Ginn already had addressed “a lot” of the town’s employee-housing needs.

“People don’t want us to build on all of the open space that we have available, but they want employee housing available, and the only place to put that is on the open space,” Bellm said.

Bellm and Clapp said the town should house its police and firefighters in Minturn.

Flaherty said that the town has addressed employee housing for the town’s and Ginn’s employees but not for residents and their children.

“We need to adopt a housing program for the town. We don’t have one,” Flaherty said.

Scherr said the town should look for housing in locations that already are developed instead of developing open space.

Candidates also answered how they would like to see large properties developed, such as near Minturn’s cemetery and property that Union Pacific owns.

Most candidates did not think the town could buy the railroad’s property.

The town owns property near the cemetery, and most candidates said that a recreation center and soccer or baseball fields could be built with revenue from Ginn.

Residents could have input as to what should be built near the cemetery if it’s developed, Flaherty said. Employee housing also could be built there, he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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