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Around the mountains

ALLEN BEST

EDWARDS – Yet more evidence has arrived that the delivery of hundreds of new lower-end housing units in the Eagle Valley is being sopped up by a hot and hungry demand.All but a handful of the 282 townhomes, condominiums and single-family homes that are being erected at the Miller Ranch, a project in Edwards, have been sold. This comes a year earlier than had been expected, reports the Vail Daily.Prices for the units, which range from $130,000 to $240,000, will not be completed until next year. Eagle County government is the co-developer.The homes are restricted to those working full-time in Eagle County or who earn at least 75 percent of their income from Eagle County businesses.As well, buyers must live there full time. Appreciation is capped at 6 percent per year. Aspen sales outpacing last year’s record paceASPEN – Real estate sales during the first three months of 2005 suggest the Aspen market could be headed toward yet another record this year. Sales during the first quarter hit $430 million, an increase of 33 percent over sales at the same time last year. Sales last year topped $1.6 billion.Citing a Land Title Guarantee Co. study, The Aspen Times reports that this year’s strong performance was not skewed by a few huge sales. In fact, the number of transactions is significantly higher than last year.Crested Butte gets abig infusion of cashCRESTED BUTTE – Thanks to the deep pockets of Tim and Diane Mueller, who purchased Crested Butte ski area a year ago, $57 million in upgrades are planned for this summer.Snowmaking will be expanded, the ski school will get better facilities, and a quad is to replace the T-bar lift. As well, three Sno-cat groomers are being purchased to help reinforce Crested Butte’s marketing claim of having Colorado’s best corduroy.One of the biggest goals is to make the ski area more kid-friendly, with the philosophy that if kids like Crested Butte, the parents will also come – and return. Crested Butte has a low retention rate. Storied hotel in Aspen won’t get fractionalizedASPEN – The purchaser of Aspen’s storied Hotel Jerome does not plan to ride the most popular wave of the moment in ski resorts by converting the hotel’s 91 rooms into time-share condominiums.The current owner, Jim McManus, who is 71, said his children did not want to manage the hotel, nor did his wife. As such, he entertained an offer from the Gaylord family, which owns the famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. McManus said he decided to sell to the Gaylords partly because of their pledge not to condominiumize the hotel. “I’m totally opposed to fractional ownership,” McManus told The Aspen Times. “Aspen needs good hotel rooms.McManus also chose the Gaylords, who are doing business as Oklahoma Publishing, because they have the money to do renovations.They have spent $185 million in renovations at the Broadmoor in recent years, helping continue its 29-year reign as a AAA five-diamond resort.The Gaylords have pledged to spend $10 million in renovations at the Hotel Jerome to complement renovations of $4.5 million already underway. Cotton-pickin’ cottonwoods sop up lot of waterKETCHUM, Idaho – There were some hard feelings in the Wood River Valley where Ketchum and Sun Valley are located, after employees of an irrigation district began felling cottonwood trees that line the district’s canal.The irrigation district uses the 20 miles of canals to deliver water for irrigation of 8,000 acres. A mature cottonwood sucks 60 to 80 gallons of water per day from that canal that should instead go to alfalfa, corn or whatever else is being grown on the farms, say the irrigation district officials. Homeowners along the canal lamented the loss of the sun-shielding trees, reports the Idaho Mountain Express.Indian paintbrush picked as Canmore’s civic flowerCANMORE, Alberta – The Indian paintbrush has been chosen as the flower of Canmore, winning out in a civic vote of 1,000 residents over other candidates that include columbines, brown-eyed Susans, and the clematis.For a time, it appeared there might be a bit of a stink about the name Indian paintbrush, as at least one municipal councilor seemed to think the name could be considered derogatory. The name comes from the fact that the dominant color is red, which is somewhat the complexion of aboriginal Americans.Why anybody would consider this connection between a wonderful flower and a race of people offense wasn’t clear.


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