Red Cliff goes under the knife
RED CLIFF ” A smidgen of nipping here, some tucking there, and Red Cliff gets a facelift in the form of a new restaurant, hotel and convenience store.
Mango’s Mountain Grill reopened Aug. 23, and ground breaking took place Monday kitty-corner from the restaurant for a turn-of-the-century-style, 14-room hotel and convenience store. The 8,500-square-foot hotel is tentatively dubbed the Green Bridge Inn.
The surgery is the work of partners Eric Cregon and Tim Parks, who both say they have a dream of renewing the town. Town residents generally seem to favor the benefits the hotel and convenience store bring to them.
“Whatever is good for the town is good for me,” resident Ruben Romero said, adding the improvements mean increased property values. “The more improvement around here is much better. Anything is better than what we’ve go right now.”
The development is an attempt to bring back similar amenities lost in the past, Cregon said. The hotel should draw snowmobilers, off-roading enthusiasts and rock climbers, among others, he said.
Several outdoor types come to town and might fill the hotel, resident Jim Bradford said.
“We get a lot of snowmobile traffic,” Bradford said. “We have the huts. That could be a good jumping-off point for the huts.”
The convenience store makes getting groceries easier, residents said. They won’t need to travel to Minturn, Vail or Leadville to buy groceries ” bread and orange juice will be available down the street.
“Right now I’m a citizen of Red Cliff and we really don’t have any conveniences,” Parks said. “You name it, we don’t have it up here.”
The building is spacious enough for a future liquor store, but Parks plans to hold off on opening the store to avoid competing with the 46-year-old Johnny’s Liquor Store down the street.
Construction is expected to be completed in about a year, Cregon said. The town stands to gain sales tax revenue and a proposal for a lodging tax ” which would impose a few on hotel guests ” is in the works, Cregon said.
“Any dollar this town can generate is a step in the right direction,” Cregon said.
But problems come with growth, Bradford said. Several issues must be addressed, including parking, traffic, tax revenue and others.
“More traffic means the downtown area is going to get more congested,” Bradford said.
The town needs tax revenue to create additional parking, fix dilapidated streets and reduce the strain on services such as snow removal. “I think Red Cliff life is about to get a lot more complicated and we’re not used to dealing with that,” Bradford said.
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or email@example.com.
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