Minturn: Interview with resort developer Bobby Ginn
Vail, CO Colorado
MINTURN, Colorado ” Bobby Ginn feels comfortable in Minturn ” it reminds him of Hampton, S.C., the small town where he grew up.
“I go home now and I’m in Minturn,” said Ginn, chief executive officer for Ginn Resorts. “It’s 600 people and it’s low country South Carolina. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a place with personality, and beautiful.”
Ginn has been in town for more than a week to promote his private ski resort, one day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., to residents. Those residents he’s had conversations with will vote Tuesday on whether or not to uphold Minturn town councilors’ decision to include 4,300 acres of his property into the town.
If residents vote yes, the Ginn Development Co. will take a major step toward building 1,700 homes and condominiums, ski slopes and a golf course between Minturn and Red Cliff.
Ginn, 59, began working construction for his father in Hampton, S.C., building only a handful of homes each year. Before long, he was building 700 homes annually.
He has built resorts mostly in the southeast and wants to build another ski resort at Burke Mountain, near Burke, Vt.
Ginn likes hunting, fishing and skiing in Colorado and Utah.
“I still don’t wear a helmet and it hurts when I fall now,” Ginn said. “I used to be better than that, but I don’t think I ever was technically a great skier.”
Now Ginn’s focus is Minturn.
“How we’re perceived in this town is very important to us,” he said.
He has gone door-to-door and met with groups of Minturn residents to “dispel rumors,” such as whether Minturn’s new wastewater treatment plant will smell and how much traffic his resort will create. (The wastewater treatment plant won’t smell, he said.)
He’s glad the annexation went to a vote of the people, because if he wins, that means residents endorse his development, he said.
“If I lived here, I would want the say-so,” Ginn said.
Residents have asked tough questions so far, he said. That’s fine, because Ginn said he would rather respond to people’s concerns about the project.
“It’s gotten us out in the community,” Ginn said. “We’re lobbying for votes, there’s no question about that, but we’re also happy to answer the questions and we have to answer them accurately.”
Ginn has two sons in their early 30s and a 22-year-old daughter, and they work for him. They may work on Battle Mountain in the future.
There’s a lot of “nepotism” at Ginn Resorts, he said. Ginn employees and their families stay for generations, so his company will “last longer than I will,” he said.
The majority of his employees work year-round and he wants to pay them enough so that some can buy lots and build their own homes in Minturn and Red Cliff, he said.
“What you really hope is that there’s never a need for employee housing,” said Ginn, who still plans to do employee housing.
Ginn doesn’t develop resorts and sell them ” he manages them and he’s going to stick with Minturn, he said.
“I think we’ll do ’em a good job.”
Bobby Ginn: “I don’t think there’s one thing. Every person in town will see something different. Somebody’s going to say, ‘I’m going to get to go skiing.’ Another guy’s going to say, ‘I like this walkway that’s going to be built.’
“Another one’s going to say, ‘My kids are going to have better schooling, my kids are going to be able to come back home and work in the local community and they’re going to have good opportunities for jobs.’ Some are going to say, ‘We got a better library and got more office space, we got a sewer system or a water system.'”
“I think a bigger question is ‘What is the negative?’ There’s a real question. That’s the one that I have probably spent more time on trying to figure out than what is the positive.
“I know that a job creation and an economic driver on that mountain, when it’s finished, will better the life of people and will cause Minturn to be able to continue to keep its infrastructure up and keep its school systems and do all the other things. I know that . What I want to make sure of is that we don’t do something that screws it up.”
BG: “If you had asked me back in my hometown, if there was a law that says ” I don’t think there’s any laws in South Carolina ” if they had a law that said, ‘You got to get it approved by the council and then you get it approved by the citizenry,’ if you asked me as I was walking down the street, what do I think, I’d say, ‘Hell, well let’s just go vote on it.’
“I think there are a lot of people in Minturn who are just common-thinking people that just think in everyday terms and said, ‘Let’s have a referendum because we should have a referendum. Everybody gets a shot at it.’
“It’s the law. I fully expected it to go to a referendum when we started. I certainly hope we win.”
BG: “I never say never, but I think what we would probably be interested in doing now is helping other people get started in Minturn. If someone wants to come in and open a restaurant or a gas station, or a grocery store, we are much more likely to help somebody do that than we would be to do it ourselves.”
BG: “The campaign has primarily been education ” to try to identify what are the myths and what are the facts.
“We’re talking to people personally, one-on-one.”
BG: “Because we’re good guys (laughs). We gave them what they need, it’s a benefit to the town
“At the end of the day, we think we’ll be a great citizen for the town, a good steward of the heritage, a good steward of wildlife, good steward of the environment”.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at (970) 748-2931 or email@example.com.
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