What’s in it for Minturn? | VailDaily.com

What’s in it for Minturn?

J.K. Perry
J.K. Perry/Vail DailyDonations from the Ginn Company, developer of a private ski resort on Battle Mountain, helped get Radio Free Minturn started.

MINTURN – In walks private ski resort developer Bobby Ginn, throwing money at Minturn community programs.While some might believe Ginn is trying to grease the wheels of public sentiment toward his luxury homes and ski lifts, the people receiving the donations said the Florida-based developer’s intentions are genuine.Ginn and his company hope to annex over 5,000 acres on and around Battle Mountain to develop a private ski hill, 1,700 luxury homes and other housing, eight chair lifts and a golf course – among other amenities – within a gated community.About a year ago, the Ginn Company helped launch Radio Free Minturn by pledging to match up to $20,000 in raised funds.”It made me realize it was much more possible that we could make (the station) happen,” said Liz Campbell, board secretary for the station. Finding money to fund the radio station – originally a pipe dream – was difficult, she said.

“Outside Minturn we couldn’t get money,” Campbell said. “One thing wonderful about Ginn is he sees where dreams can become a reality.”And the Ginn Company didn’t ask for anything in return.”They gave us this money with absolutely no strings attached,” Campbell said. “That is almost unprecedented.”Other donations went to the Minturn Middle School. A $5,000 grant helped the school get involved with the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound program so students could learn in the wilderness, Principal Toni Boush said.For example, eighth graders plan to take a two-night hut trip next year to learn about the 10th Mountain Division, while seventh graders will learn about lynx reintroduction and sixth graders take a river expedition.Another $2,000 went to the school’s Sept. 22 Mountain Film Festival, which also will raise money for the expeditionary program, Boush said.Why is the Ginn Company making so many donations in Minturn? “It’s a community, and when you’re a part of the community you need to be involved in it,” Boush said.

The Ginn Company donates money and provides opportunities to people in many of the communities where it develops land. In 2000, the company gave $2.5 million to Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla., to help build an engineering school.Ginn also bought Morris Island in Charleston, S.C. for $6.8 million and sold it back to a public land trust for just $4.5 million so it could be preserved. More recently, Ginn allowed 13-year-old Dakoda Dowd to compete in the LPGA Ginn Clubs and Resorts professional tournament. Dowd’s mother, Kelly Jo, dreamt of seeing her daughter compete professionally after she was diagnosed for a second time with cancer and given just six months to a year to live.”First and foremost I think that is just the kind of guy Bobby Ginn is,” Ginn Company spokesman Ryan Julison said. “He wants to make the communities we develop better places.”After development on Battle Mountain takes place, the Ginn Company plans to stick around, Julison said.

“One of the things that sets us apart as a developer is we don’t just come in and get out,” he said. “We’re here for the long term.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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