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Minturn: Residents run resort race

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado ” Gusty Kanakis has talked to a couple dozen people about a private ski resort proposed in Minturn, where he has lived almost his whole life.

He goes door to door some nights and gives Minturn residents a questionnaire, which asks whether they are for or against the Ginn Development Co.’s ski resort.

“The ones that are hesitant, we’ll talk to see if we can resolve some of their issues,” said Kanakis, a member of Minturn Citizens for Annexation, which supports the resort.



As residents await a referendum May 20 on whether Minturn should include 4,300 acres of Ginn’s property into the town, groups for and against Ginn’s plans to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and up to two 18-hole golf courses in Minturn are gearing up for a fight.

Fred Haslee, of Minturn Citizens for Annexation and a former town councilor, said he started the group because Ginn will fund a new library, recreation center, scholarships for residents and new water and wastewater treatment plants. The group encourages residents to vote “yes” on its Web site.



“This is the first time, in my opinion, Minturn has had something positive to discuss,” he said.

Haslee also wanted to give residents clear, concise information, he said. He’s tired of reading and hearing “disinformation” in the newspaper from Minturn residents’ Frank Lorenti and Pete Vance, he said.

Lorenti and Vance, who gathered signatures on a petition for the referendum, said the facts come from the annexation agreement that town councilors approved, interviews with experts and other documents.



“Every fact that we have is backed up,” said Lorenti, adding that he provides references to facts on his Web site, minturntimes.com, which says to vote “no” on the annexation.

“He needs to prove where my facts are wrong,” Lorenti said.

Lorenti and Vance have their own plans for a campaign. They will be interviewed on three radio stations and are encouraging people who signed the petition to attend Minturn Citizens for Annexation meetings and to write letters to the newspaper about their concerns of the project.

“It’s a war of words now,” Vance said.

Minturn Citizens for Annexation has met twice so far and it plans to meet again at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Minturn Inn, owned by Ginn.

Representatives from Ginn, such as Director of Communications Cliff Thompson and Senior Vice President Bill Weber, show up at meetings to help with questions that residents have, members of the group said.

“They’re giving us direction, but the groundswell of everything is coming from Minturn residents,” Haslee said.

Haslee, the group’s treasurer, said he did not know where it got its funding. The group’s first financial report is due Tuesday, said Jay Brunvand, Minturn clerk and treasurer.

Meanwhile, Kanakis will continue to go door-to-door to talk to people about the annexation. On Monday, he talked to a dozen residents about Ginn and everyone told him they supported the project.

He said he wants to show support for town councilors, who spent almost three years studying Ginn’s proposal.

“I know my self and my wife are both really pleased with what the Town Council has done… That’s our main reason for doing this,” he said.

For more information about a developer’s plans to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course in Minturn, and about groups for and against the project, go to these Web sites:

– Minturn Citizens for Annexation: http://www.minturncitizensforannexation.org/

– Minturn Times: http://minturntimes.com/

– Town of Minturn: http://minturn.org/battleMtn/index.html

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


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