Minturn residents bracing for change
Eagle County correspondent
MINTURN ” Dolores Gonzales of Minturn doesn’t need to see Bobby Ginn’s ambitious plans for Battle Mountain to know what it will likely mean to her.
“I probably won’t be able to live here,” the 75 year-old said. “Taxes will go sky-high. I have no idea as to where I’ll go from here.”
Faced with a development that will bring overwhelming change to their town, many other Minturn citizens in this town of 1,100 are waiting to see what Ginn’s private ski resort, golf course and private homes will look like.
They won’t have long to wait to find out. The Florida-based Ginn Companies will present formal plans for the 5,400-acre Battle Mountain development south of town to the Minturn town council July 6. The $1 billion-plus Beaver Creek-style resort will include 1,700 units of slopeside residences along the ski hill and golf course, and hotel rooms on land occupied by the defunct Eagle Zinc mine.
Many seem to like the prospect of the change the development could bring to the town, while others are not as sure.
“I think it’s great,” said Mark Tatham, 38, a lifelong Minturn resident who works as a concierge at the Christie Lodge in Avon.
He said when the Eagle Mine closed in 1984 it hurt the town’s businesses.
“When Gilman was still going there was traffic and we had people coming and going,” he said. “Once Gilman died down we lost a lot of business. It’ll be good to see that come back. We’ve got to keep town going.”
Naomi Martinez, 26, a stay-at-home mother of two, likes that property prices will escalate because it could provide residents a windfall if they sell their homes.
“It’s going to be good for property values,” she said, adding that she’s worried that development could create traffic problems downtown with “people driving too slow.”
Traffic, too, is on Arvin Carter’s mind. A maintenance worker, he moved to Minturn 35 years ago.
“I think it’s going to cause too much traffic,” he said. “I like the town small. Even now when I back my car out of the driveway in the morning, there’s traffic.”
Harry Gray of Harry’s Bump and Grind on Main Street is waiting to see how things work out. “My hope is that he pans out,” he said. “It’s easy to look at that property and understand it’s fraught with difficulties and challenges.”
Gonzales had some other concerns about the pending development, which she called “humongous.”
“It’s more than my imagination can handle,” she said. “Are locals going to be able to afford it? Rich people are used to a lot of money ” something that we don’t have here.”
She doesn’t see much immediate upside to the development, but said it may be good in the long run. “Maybe it will be better for future generations,” she said. “But not for us.”
In neighboring Red Cliff, Jake Spears owns land next to the property Ginn wants to develop. He’s not too upset by that and, he said, it’s just a continuing chapter in the development of Eagle County.
“People here are in the service and construction industry, and it pays the bills,” he said. “It’s amazing it’s finally happening and it’s happening so big.”
Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or email@example.com.
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