Ginn could pump $162m into Minturn
eagle county correspondent
MINTURN ” A developer of a private ski resort will fund more than $162 million in benefits for the town of Minturn, according to the town.
Ginn will fund an $8.5 million recreation center, community center and library; $250,000 for a parking lot for Little Beach Park; $22 million to buy almost 40 acres of U.S. Forest land around the town; $2 million for public parking in downtown Minturn; and $350,000 for scholarships for residents, among other benefits.
Ginn also will fund and build a $9 million paved bike trail that will go from Dowd Junction to Red Cliff, but the town must build the section that goes from Cemetery Road to the Turntable Restaurant and Hotel.
Ginn has given more than $11 million to Minturn already. If residents approve annexation of the Ginn project Tuesday in a referendum, planning for the bike path, recreation center and park parking lot theoretically could begin the day after. Ginn will give the rest of the money sometime after ” and if ” town councilors vote to approve Ginn’s final development plan. That vote is expected to come later this year if residents vote yes Tuesday.
Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, ski slopes and a golf course on and around Battle Mountain between Minturn and Red Cliff.
Town councilors have become more savvy when it comes to drawing benefits from developers, said Craig Cohn, director of marketing and sales for the Solaris development in Vail.
“It has become a regular part of development and approvals to give back public benefits to the communities that allow you to build,” said Cohn, who spearheaded a campaign to get voters to approve Solaris in a 2007 referendum.
If Ginn’s development is approved but Ginn fails to fulfill its funding obligations, a “general improvement district” will safeguard the town.
“It’s just a matter of smart business practices,” Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter said.
The district will have the authority to fund improvements to the town and also will be used to fund annual operations and maintenance costs of parking lots and the bike path and recreation center.
Residents also will have a say in how the town uses some of the mone. Residents will help the town decide how to use the Forest Service lands and what they want out of the recreation center, which could include tennis courts, a swimming pool or racquetball courts, he said. Suiter estimates planning on that could last two years.
There also will be $250,000 in case the town wants wireless Internet technology.
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, Ginn has said.
With the pass, residents can golf 15 days, but must pay greens fees that will be competitive with local courses, Ginn has said.
Residents can use Ginn’s pools, meeting halls and can shop at retail businesses such as restaurants and ski shops.
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