Private ski resort drives Minturn election |

Private ski resort drives Minturn election

J.K. Perry

MINTURN – The development of a private ski resort on Battle Mountain will be the hottest issue in this year’s Minturn Town Council elections, which take place April 4, residents said.”I think it’s a big deal because this next council will be the ones who deal most directly with the Ginn project,” resident Harry Gray said, referred to the resort’s developer, Bobby Ginn. “Ginn’s the one that is most upfront in our face.”Ginn Company officials have tentatively proposed a private ski resort, golf course and luxury homes on 5,000 acres of land south of Minturn. The council has begun reviewing whether 4,300 acres of that land should become a part of Minturn. Resident Earle Bidez said the Ginn development “obviously” will be the most heated issue during the election. Most important is the increased traffic the project could bring, followed by environmental impacts, said Bidez, a former mayor.”You’re basically looking at changing the character of the town completely,” Bidez said. Outside of the Ginn development, Gray said another issue is businesses using the rail yards tax-free and without compensating the town for police and other services while he has to pay taxes on his shop, Harry’s Bump and Grind.Also in recent months, developer R.A. Nelson has pushed the town to build parking for Vail construction projects on railroad land.”I would dislike seeing that yard full of cars,” Gray said. “Vail doesn’t want to park in their town.”Four council seats including the mayor’s, are up for election. Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty and Councilman Bill Burnett are seeking re-election while Fred Haslee and Darell Wegert have chosen not to run.”What I really want to see right now is the development with Ginn to see how it’s going to turn out for Minturn,” Burnett said. “That’s the biggest issue for right now.”Wegert said he is focusing on a bid for Eagle River Water and Sanitation District board. An infusion of new council members will be good for Minturn, he said.”We have a whole new group of people that moved into town and they’re quite interested in the town,” Wegert said. “It’s their turn to start carrying the ball.”Haslee, who has served on council for 10 years, said growth is problem in Minturn.”We definitely need growth,” Haslee said. “Some people think the Ginn project is a good idea, other people don’t. The Minturn Town Council right now is not looking at plan B. What’s going to happen if Ginn doesn’t go through?”Council terms last four years and the mayor serves for two. Minturn Town Clerk Jay Brunvand is accepting petitions for council seats until March 3 at 5 p.m. Candidates must have been a Minturn resident for at least two years, a registered voter and get signatures from 10 registered voters in Minturn. The same rules apply for mayor, except hopefuls must have lived in Minturn for at least five years.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or, Colorado

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