Minturn on the brink |

Minturn on the brink

I have no hope whatsoever that Battle Mountain or Bolt’s Lake will remain some of the prettiest open space, wildland, wilderness in the non-bureaucratic sense they have been.

Nope. We’re talking golf course, condos, gondola, McMansions along a little private ski resort in a relative wink of time.

Old-town Minturn will get its sidewalks, its new sewer pipes, its revenue stream, and along with that a new veneer of landscaping and pretty buildings and various other trappings of a thriving, quaint, charming community.

Only property values will soar even beyond the rate now. Today’s residents will find themselves priced out of their own town. Their small town will mutate to someone else’s small town.

Their leaders, frightened that someone else will let Bobby Ginn dwarf town with his gated community that makes Vail look like hoi poloi, will slice their own throats.

But it will take time, maybe 20 years before the transformation is complete. Seems like an eternity and maybe worth selling out the town to make life easier. The municipality is starved, at least some folks desperate as a result.

So they fool themselves that they can grasp the tiger’s tail and control it. Maybe they can. But that will take more cleverness than the town has ever shown in the past.

If the dirt poor town really were committed to preserving its family-friendly, know-your-neighbor, salt-of-the-earth ethic, it would make like Eagle years ago and tell Ginn not just no, but hell no.

Minturn would tell Ginn to go to the county, try to convince Red Cliff to ever so slowly annex all those acres. Go ahead. The result would be pretty much what’s there now. A Battle Mountain that’s still wild, a Bolt’s Lake flat that’s open field. It would be too much even for Ginn. He’d go away, and try to sell to another developer seeing possibility in them thar hills.

Bless them, but Minturn’s leadership wants this. They see the advantages for the town, not the costs of servicing an extension four times the size of town or the real danger of losing their way.

It’s called selling out, and they might as well be honest about it. Sure, they’ll probably get a senior center in the deal. When the transformation completes itself in a couple of decades, no one in town today who would use the center then will be around to enjoy it.

They’ll have long been priced out of their own community. Sure, I exaggerate. There will be some folks left in town, much like Vail. They just won’t recognize their town. It will be pretty, and pretty wealthy. It won’t be the Minturn its current community loves so much, though.

Some mixture of panic and greed will topple it.

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