Minturn mayor’s race: Bellm wants town to run better | VailDaily.com
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Minturn mayor’s race: Bellm wants town to run better

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyMinturn mayoral candidate Shelley Bellm, left, helps daughter Riley, 8, decorate her egg for Easter Thursday at their home in Minturn.
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MINTURN, Colorado ” Shelley Bellm wants to make Minturn a place where her three daughters can raise their kids and where other Minturn residents can do the same.

“Keeping our quality of life is of utmost importance,” Bellm said.

Bellm is running for mayor of Minturn against incumbent Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty because she said she wants to help provide for Minturn’s future while preserving its qualities.

“I would rather be part of a change than sit back and complain about the change,” she said.

Bellm has wanted to run for mayor since she first ran for Town Council in 2006. Town councilors should address residents’ problems first during meetings, she said.

Sometimes residents wait hours until their issues are discussed, if they’re discussed at all, she said.

“Our meetings are not as efficiently run as they could be,” she said. “I don’t think our offices are operated as efficiently as they could be.”

Bellm moved to the Vail Valley in 1982 from Connecticut when her father wanted to teach skiing on Vail Mountain. She lives with her husband, Dan, and her daughters are sixth-generation Minturn residents.

Her work as a physician relations manager at Colorado Mountain Medical includes doing scheduling for doctors and making sure people’s bills are appropriate for the services they get.

She wants to make sure that snow is removed promptly from in front of people’s homes and that potholes on Minturn’s side streets are fixed, she said.

“Who wants to live with a bunch of potholes?” she said. “We all care about our personal property and if the roads are trashed then your property values are going to go down.”

Bellm also wants to keep open space in Minturn when the town gets the money from Ginn to buy U.S. Forest Service properties nearby, she said. Affordable housing could be built on a portion of the land, but much of it ” such as at Martin Creek ” should remain mostly open space.

“We don’t want that to be another Miller Ranch,” she said.

Bellm also wants to give residents power in government, she said. Residents should help decide what improvements to the town ” such as a recreation center ” will look like. Resident should also help redesign Minturn so it’s more pedestrian friendly, she said.

“All of us take what (residents) are saying pretty seriously,” she said.

Vail Daily: Why are you running for mayor?

Shelley Bellm: Minturn is changing continually even without the Ginn development. It’s certainly changed in the last 20 years that I’ve lived there. I think the leadership also should change.

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?

SB: Absolutely. I think some of them might be able to be tightened up a little bit, but we got one heck of a deal for the residents of Minturn. $180 million of benefits for our residents is pretty substantial. That’s not even tax revenue, that’s the wastewater treatment plant, the water treatment plant, the improvement to infrastructure, the redesign of Main Street.

As Ginn is moving its infrastructure up there we’re going to also be doing Main Street at the same time. We’re getting a bike path for the residents, a rec center, a library, senior center and the financial means to be able to provide more amenities for our residents. It’s pretty phenomenal.

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?

SB: In order for them to maintain their vested rights, they have to provide these things. We’re making sure that there aren’t any outs for this developer. We’re putting pretty strict protections in there for us and for our residents to make sure that this doesn’t just go away in two years.

A lot of the promises that they’ve made start in the beginning. The construction of the bike path is from the beginning. It’s not something that, oh, in 20 years they can start building a bike path. That’s how we make sure we get what we were promised up front. I think their schedule has them starting in early 2009.

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?

SB: If the petition gets through and the residents vote this down, the financial stability of the town is probably the most important thing we have to look at. Minturn is struggling day to day right now to provide for the services to our residents, to pay staff to plow our streets, to maintain our streets.

With Ginn, I think our major issue is again maintaining what people see as their quality of life in Minturn. Not having 1,700 trucks on the road is important to the town and us having control of the traffic will help maintain some of that quality of life.

VD: What qualifies you for the role of mayor?

SB: I just have a strong desire to continue to provide for the community … to make sure that the municipal government is providing for its citizens.

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


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