Minturn pondering an RV park
6-acre parcel will also have a community swimming pool as part of the $3 million development.|Special to the Daily|
If you’ve ever been stuck behind a slow-moving recreational vehicle on Vail Pass, you probably know they sometimes can create some high-altitude traffic problems.
But if you ascribe to the the postulate that problems create opportunities, as does Minturn Town Manager Alan Lanning, who says RVs represent an excellent opportunity to bring a sizable increase in business – and even a measure of prosperity – to Minturn.
Lanning and members of the Minturn Town Council want to bring an 82-space Kampground of America, or KOA, to Minturn. The $3 million venture would include an indoor swimming pool and a playground.
As currently envisioned, the park would accommodate 62 RVs, 15 small cabins and five spaces for tents.
The best part of the deal? If it works as projected, it may not cost taxpayers a cent. The proposal calls for building the KOA on 6 acres a quarter-mile south of the Minturn Cemetery.
“We want to help make Minturn recession-proof,” Lanning says.
The KOA proposal would use certificates of participation, or bonds paid by the business generated at the park. It’s the same funding method used for Minturn’s new Town Center.
Lanning, an RV enthusiast, proposed the idea some years ago, and it now looks like it’s getting closer to being built. The plan will be unveiled at an open house in Minturn’s Town Center on Nov. 16. A time has not yet been set. Two planning meetings and two Town Council meetings will follow.
A study generated by a consulting team hired by the town indicates that at 50 percent occupancy, the year-round park would generate $1 million to the local economy annually and nearly $100,000 of after-expense income to Minturn. The average RVer spends $70 per day, Lanning said.
Driving the proposal, sort of, is the fact that U.S. Highway 24 running through Minturn is a National Scenic Byway that draws thousands of people just for the sights. Even better is the park’s proximity to Interstate 70 and to Vail and Beaver Creek, which are developing into year-round resorts. That’s a major conduit to any travel-related park.
On his trips to Denver, Lanning, who keeps track each time he goes there, says he has counted 200 to 400 RVs per trip. Each of those now represents a missed opportunity, he says.
With the major horsepower of the KOA marketing, Minturn would be on the map pretty quickly, Lanning says.
“Right now we’re doing the programming issues, like how the park will be laid-out and financing issues,” he says.
If the park works out as envisioned, it could be a boon for the town, which has struggled to provide community amenities with its $1.6 million budget. A third of Minturn’s operating revenue comes from the town’s 4 percent sales tax.
“We believe we can provide the community with amenities we could not have, if not for this opportunity,” he says.
The RV park and community pool and playground are just part of the amenities envisioned for the community.
“It’s just the start of an overall recreation complex on the parcel,
he says. “We hope this will create enough revenue to expand the recreation complex.”
Lanning says the town is attempting to take advantage of its natural assets. He says the proposed $2 million river improvement project for the Eagle River through Minturn and the successful Minturn Farmer’s Market are also pieces of the economic puzzle.
He did voice one caveat: If the RV park does not provide adequate revenue to pay off the certificates of participation, the shortfall would have to come out of the town’s coffers.
The only other RV park in the Eagle River Valley is River Dance, west of Gypsum, which opened last year.
Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 eat 450 or email@example.com.