Minturn Council candidate: Kelly Brinkerhoff |

Minturn Council candidate: Kelly Brinkerhoff

Preston Utley/Vail DailyMinturn Town Council canidate Kelly Brinkerhoff with her son at Harry's Bump and Grind.

MINTURN ” At 19,400 feet, Kelly Brinkerhoff observed the clouds below and the jagged rocks of the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro while exchanging vows with her fiancee in the thin air.

“We just wanted sort of a trip of a lifetime ” just something you wouldn’t normally do for a wedding,” Brinkerhoff said.

Brinkerhoff and eight others hiked the massive stratovolcano in Tanzania for a wedding ceremony set in a moon-like environment, she said.

The 41-year-old mother and attorney is now eyeing a position on the Minturn Town Council. She doesn’t equate her determination to climb Kilimanjaro to her desire to serve the people of Minturn. Rather, she points to her part in raising funds to reinvigorate La Playuela Park.

“Certainly the park has been a really wonderful experience for me in the community and getting to know people in the community,” Brinkerhoff said.

Brinkerhoff, her husband and other Minturnites raised over $400,000 for new playground equipment and to fix up the amphitheater, which will host a concert series this summer, she said.

Brinkerhoff is running for council because she has passion for Minturn, wants to be a part of future changes, and improve communication between residents and the council, she said.

She calls her self a doer, and accomplishes whatever goals she sets for herself.

“I enjoy the process along the way,” Brinkerhoff said. “I like to kind of stretch myself and challenge myself.”

She currently is an attorney for Molson Coors Brewing Company. Brinkerhoff was born in Boston, raised in New York City where she attended undergraduate school at Columbia and then received her law degree from Denver University.

“I always wanted to move out west, and going to DU was the opportunity,” Brinkerhoff said.

Three years ago she found property in Minturn and has “never looked back,” she said.

Battle Mountain is privately-owned land and will be developed with or without Minturn. Since Minturn will be affected most by the development, I would like Minturn to take the lead in negotiating a plan that is right for the town. I’m concerned if we don’t annex, then Minturn will have no voice in the process.

Throughout negotiations we need to protect the small-town character of Minturn, limit traffic problems, protect wildlife and the environment, and ensure the development significantly adds to, rather than detracts from, the well-being of the town. With a due diligence process in place to critically evaluate the development, I think we can achieve this. The annexation and development approval processes are a negotiation, and Minturn can and should request changes to the development plan to reduce negative impacts on the town.

The Ginn development will increase traffic volume, which would potentially increase pollution, increase safety risks to pedestrians and bikers, and affect the quality of life for residents on Main Street. An independent traffic-consulting group needs to analyze the impacts of various-size developments during and after construction.

We should use this tool to size the development and mitigate impacts. Any plan Minturn approves needs to be sensitive and appropriate for the environment, and adequately mitigate harm to wildlife according to recommendations by independent experts.

There could also be positive impacts as a result of annexation, which might include more business patronage, a pedestrian and bike trail through town, environmental clean up of existing contaminated sites, improved water quality, increased tax revenue, the ability to reduce property taxes, better city services and an opportunity to take control of Minturn’s future.

Spending money on Minturn will not necessarily make the town better. We need to hire a financial planner and involve the community in deciding how the money should be spent or invested. I would want any big expenditure to go to a town vote.

I would like to see several funds created, including a fund to hire expert planners to assist in revising the town’s master plan and zoning regulations; a fund to purchase land within town boundaries that can be used for public amenities; a local business assistance program to promote our businesses and attract new businesses to town; an infrastructure improvement fund to build new sidewalks and a public parking structure; and an affordable housing fund for Minturn locals.

The most important issue facing Minturn is how to preserve Minturn’s small-town character and historical values, while appropriately managing growth and development. This is important because the small scale of the town, the town’s history and architectural themes along the Main Street business center, along with our residents and local businesses, make up the heart and soul of the town and it’s why most people love living in Minturn.

We can’t afford to make isolated, piecemeal decisions on new developments without a planning vision for the town as a whole. We need to review our master plan, zoning code and design-review processes to ensure our codes adequately protect what makes Minturn unique. I would specifically look at stricter architectural and building standards and inclusionary zoning programs to help locals afford to live in Minturn.

Supporting and promoting our local businesses should be a priority this year for the council. The town’s operating budget depends mostly on tax revenues from local businesses.

We need to bring more visitors to town and reverse the decline of revenues from our business community by solving our public parking problem; relieving regulatory burdens on businesses; exploring incentives to keep and attract businesses; do a better job at showcasing what makes Minturn unique; and schedule town events, such as concerts, lectures and children’s activities at La Playuela Park and amphitheater.

I’m working on a plan with the Minturn Community Fund to bring events to Minturn’s new amphitheater this summer. I think the amphitheater will have a positive impact on Minturn’s economy.

I care about my community and I have a passion for getting things done. I chair a committee that raised $400,000 to renovate La Playuela Park. I’m on the board of the Minturn Community Fund and have been an active member of the Minturn Economic Development Committee. I’m a lawyer with experience in water, real estate, land use, contract and corporate law.

I’ve worked as in-house counsel at two large Colorado companies in a business environment where teamwork is the key to success. I also believe my skills in consensus-building, problem solving and negotiating contracts will assist the town in analyzing some of the difficult issues that will need to be addressed during the next four years.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

Vail, Colorado

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