Minturn finalizes hopes and dreams |

Minturn finalizes hopes and dreams

Cliff Thompson
Preston Utley/Vail DailyWater and sewer plants and a recreation center are on the list of what Minturn wants from the Florida-based developer who plans to build a resort south of town on Battle Mountain.

MINTURN – For a long time Minturn has been a town that has gotten by quite nicely on its own, locals will tell you.High-priced ski resort development that swept over Vail, Beaver Creek and Edwards has largely passed it by. And it has done without lots of parks, sidewalks, streetlights, recreation centers, ball fields and other amenities. The town has managed with a municipal budget that last year totaled just $1.2 million. Until now. Six months ago the Florida-based Ginn Companies announced it wanted to build 1,700 homes on 5,400 acres south of town on Battle Mountain. The company also wants a private ski hill and golf course. The company, which has developed luxury resort communities across the Southeast, purchased the land formerly owned by the New Jersey Zinc mine, for $32.5 million in December.

The developer wants to make the new development part of Minturn. The development is valued in excess of $1 billion by the developer and will triple the number of residences in this town of 1,100.The new development gives the town an opportunity to extract concessions from the developer. Those concessions will help offset the cost of the increased traffic and the need for more parking, police protection and street maintenance the Battle Mountain development will generate.Top of the listWith that in mind, the Minturn Town Council this week assembled a collective shopping list of big ticket “brick-and-mortar” items. Heading the list – not surprisingly – are a water and sewer plans, and a recreation center with a pool, ballfields, gym and other exercise facilities.

Close behind is a desire to purchase some U.S. Forest Service land alongside the Eagle River south of town to build a park, a bike path running to Dowd Junction and Red Cliff. Burying electric lines, rebuilding the town’s storm-water drainage system, building a security fence around the town’s water plant and tearing down the old, vacated town hall to build a park follow. Equally important to council members is creating a historic downtown district and building a senior center.Lower on the council’s priority list are new curbs and sidewalks, parking lots, better signs directing drivers on Interstate 70 and Highway 24 into town, and a new public works facility. Council members also want to look at relocating Highway 24, but where to put it remains in question.Other improvements that council considered but didn’t assign a priority were gas line improvements, high-speed cable, paving, a stop light, a child-care center, an arts center, more town buildings, recreational trails, and more police equipment. The town council won’t have the only say in what the community’s wish list will look like. A communitywide survey of residents and business owners completed earlier this year will be unveiled next week. The results of that and the council’s list will be distilled into a single list, said town manager Ann Capela.

That list and Ginn’s development plan for Battle Mountain will also be presented during next week’s council meeting. It is expected the annexation and development agreement between town and developer will take 18 months to complete. After that, construction can begin.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colo.

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