Private ski resort touts benefits for Minturn
Vail CO, Colorado
MINTURN ” A private ski resort will provide more benefits than “negatives” for Minturn residents, said Bill Weber, senior vice president of the Ginn Development Co.
“I feel very confident that the pluses far exceed the minuses,” Weber said at a Minturn Town Council Meeting Wednesday.
Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course on and around Battle Mountain, south of Minturn. Town councilors are expected to vote on whether to annex Ginn’s property into Minturn before an upcoming Minturn Town Council election in April.
The past few Minturn Town Council meetings, Ginn has presented its response to questions and comments made by Minturn town councilors. Weber did not explain what he meant by “negatives” Wednesday night, but he pointed out several benefits for Minturn and Red Cliff residents if Ginn’s development were approved.
Ginn has a number of good jobs available and many of its employees will come from Minturn and Red Cliff, Weber said.
Ginn would house 50 percent of its employees ” no matter how many it hires ” in Minturn and Red Cliff, said Dominic Mauriello, planner for Ginn. If it had to, Ginn also has enough space to house the employees on its property, Mauriello said.
At first, Ginn said it would house 40 percent of its employees, but added the extra 10 percent after town councilors asked for more.
Ginn does not lay off its employees when the ski season ends, Weber said.
“We have never laid people off,” Weber said. “We have never had seasonal employees.”
Ginn will employ workers full-time, year-round and will give them benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) and profit-sharing, Ginn officials said.
Workers will be paid a higher than normal wage because they don’t rely on tips for income, Weber said.
For workers who want to buy homes in the valley, Ginn will give loan and down-payment assistance and will sell and will rent “deed-restricted” housing, Ginn officials said.
Minturn also will get $6 million in tax revenue the second year after councilors approve the project and $6 to $10 million each year after five years, Mauriello said.
Minturn could lower its taxes and mill levy, improve its parks and hire more town staffers to provide more services for residents, he said.
“Those new revenues really give the town an opportunity to maybe do some things that it couldn’t do before,” Mauriello said.
Ginn will provide guided hunting on Battle Mountain for Minturn and Red Cliff residents though it has not worked out the details yet, Ginn officials said.
Ginn also will build and pay for a seven-mile public, paved bike path across Ginn’s property from Bolts Lake, south of Minturn, to Red Cliff, according to Ginn’s presentation.
Anyone may continue to use Tigiwon and Shrine Pass roads, which run through Ginn’s property, according to the presentation.
Ginn’s plans will help improve current traffic as well as future traffic, Mauriello said. Ginn will pay for sidewalks, curbs, gutters, lighting and signs to improve safety on Minturn’s roads, Ginn officials said.
Ginn will fund a new wastewater treatment plant for Minturn and that will give Minturn the potential to reclaim the water rights it lost in the 1990s, Mauriello said.
Ginn also will clean up contaminated mine waste in the abandoned town of Gilman and Bolts Lake, Mauriello said.
“Vast areas” of open space on Ginn’s property will be preserved and Ginn will fund improvements to wildlife habitat in and around Minturn, according to the presentation.
Ginn plans to build all of its buildings that are more than 20,000 square feet to energy efficient building standards. That amounts to 70 percent of its 1,700-home and -condominium development, Ginn officials have said.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Mauriello said.
Ginn will follow “dark skies” standards by using light bulbs recessed into light fixtures so that no light spills upward or to the sides. This will maintain the quality of Minturn and Red Cliff’s night sky, Ginn officials have said.
For $50, Minturn and Red Cliff residents can ski a total of 30 days of each ski season, with a minimum of 10 days on weekends and holidays and at least three days each month during the ski season, Mauriello said.
With the pass, residents can golf 15 days, but must pay greens fees that will be competitive with local courses, he said.
Residents can use Ginn’s pools, meeting halls and can shop at retail businesses such as restaurants and ski shops, Ginn officials said.
“The benefits that you showed tonight are what our residents want to see,” Town Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said.
Meanwhile, town councilors said town staffers will work on a plan to get more information to people about the project, though they did not say when or how.
Town councilors have said they can’t discuss Ginn’s application outside of Town Council meetings, citing town code that forbids “ex parte communications.”
“The intent is certainly not to be secretive, but to nail everything down,” Town Councilwoman Kelly Brinkerhoff said.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.