Minturn resort may lose water bid | SummitDaily.com
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Minturn resort may lose water bid

Melanie Wong
vail daily
Minturn, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado – It appears highly likely the developer of the proposed Ginn project in Minturn will have to find a plan B to provide water for the project. The city of Aurora was expected to vote late Monday night to buy 1,337 acre-feet of water from the Columbine Ditch near Leadville.

Developer Bobby Ginn, who has plans to build a private ski resort near Minturn, had wanted to buy the water for his project. But Aurora has right-of-first-refusal to buy the water if it matches Ginn’s offer of $30.4 million.

Aurora would shared the cost with the Climax molybdenum mine, which will pay for and use a third of the water, said Greg Baker, spokesman for Aurora Water.

Representatives from Ginn Resort Company had said earlier this week that the company would react to the Aurora City Council’s decision once it was made.

Spokesman Ryan Julison declined to say what alternative plans the company had to provide water for the project. Ginn has plans include a golf course and luxury homes on Battle Mountain, an area which was annexed by the town last year.

“Obviously water is a key issue, and the first priority will just be to wait and see what happens (Monday night), and we’ll react accordingly,” Julison said.

Purchasing the water is a good move for Aurora, which like other Front Range communities, are always in need of water, Baker said – the water can flow down naturally to the town, and no extra pipes or infrastructure will be needed.

“It’s a pretty straightforward deal for us,” he said. “It’s mountain water, and it’s not very often that’s up for sale. The Columbine Ditch purchase is the rarest of waters – it’s clean and it’s pure.”

One acre-foot of water is enough to support two families of four for a year, Baker said.

If Aurora purchases the coveted waters, some woudl see it as a significant snag in the developer’s plans – Ginn will have to find water elsewhere.

The news was met with relief by some Minturn residents, such as Liz Campbell, who said she hopes the developer will now build a water treatment plant in town as originally promised. According to Campbell, the town’s water needs significant treatment, and soon. During the spring, the water from the taps in her home run a murky brown, she said.

“If Ginn wants this development, he’s going to have to get his water from somewhere. I’m very relieved that he can’t look toward the Columbine Ditch to do that,” she said. “Maybe we’ll actually get this treatment plant that was promised.”

Minturn resident Frank Lorenti, who has spoken against the project in the past, said he sees many problems with the project, and the lack of water is just one of them.

“In my opinion, he never had the water,” he said. “The project’s in limbo. (Ginn) doesn’t have the money to do the project at this time, now he’s not going to have the water, and there’s still a lawsuit ongoing for ownership of the property. There are a lot of kinks that need to be worked out”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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