Telluride offers nearly $20 million for Valley Floor
TELLURIDE – The town of Telluride and a developer are millions of dollars apart on a deal that would preserve the valley floor west of the town from development.The town has offered the San Miguel Valley Corp. (SMVC) $19.5 million for 570 abutting acres, the amount the town’s appraiser says it’s worth, but close to $30 million less than the landowner’s estimate, the Telluride Daily Planet reported.Last year, Telluride residents voted to authorize the purchase or condemnation of the land, and then approved additional borrowing to get more money for the purchase.Town Manager Jay Harrington said the town has not received word from company officials on whether it will reject, accept or seek further negotiations.Barring an unlikely acceptance of the $19.5 million offer by SMVC, or the start of counter-offer negotiations, the town will have cleared the way to file a case in district court to compel the sale of the land through eminent domain, or condemnation.SMVC officials have stated many times that the real estate holding company, owned by San Diego businessman Neal Blue who has long ties to Colorado, intends to wage a fight to maintain ownership of the Valley Floor.Real estate running hot in TellurideTELLURIDE – Real estate brokers in the Telluride area are reporting the best year since the banner year of 2000.Year-to-date sales through September were $275 million, compared to $431 million in that record year of 2000. September tallies were strong enough to inspire hopes that the real estate market is in for a long rally, reports The Telluride Watch.Sales of condominiums paced the comeback. The condos had originally been put on the market as fractional units, but were pulled when the project went into receivership. There seem to have been some “price adjustments” to speed sales, although a broker told the newspaper that it wasn’t a fire sale, by any means.Snowmass Village worker fired over comments in newspaperDENVER – Snowmass Village has fired one of its employees after she was identified as an anonymous source criticizing the town.Carolyn Poissant was quoted as an unnamed source in the Oct. 7 edition of The Aspen Times alleging the town was engaging in “”back-room” negotiations with Intrawest and the company developing Base Village.She agreed to talk to the paper as an anonymous source, but in the editing process the identity of the source was changed to include her gender and her job.Poissant was the only female senior planner for the town, and she was placed on administrative leave the same day.””Carolyn is no longer employed by the town,” said Town Manager Mike Segrest.Poissant says she was fired because of the comment in the newspaper and is not receiving a severance package.””It’s like Segrest stuck out his tongue and said, ‘So sue us,'” she said.The newspaper has apologized for the incident and ran an editorial encouraging the town not to fire Poissant.””We are so sorry this has happened. I really respect what she did and think she stood up for something she believed in,” said Jenna Weatherred, publisher of The Aspen Times. “”I’m disappointed Snowmass has decided this is what they need to do.”Cyclist finally completes round-the-world journeyJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Twenty-three years and 63,633 miles later, Steve Williams can claim the first crossing of all six inhabited continents.Williams, now 50 and living in Boulder, set out on this quest when he was 27. A failed professional cyclist, he still had a strong wanderlust and thought riding around the world “sounded like a really cool thing to do,” he told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.Annoying, challenging, and dangerous were the segments spent riding among bandits and grizzly bears, thick mosquitoes and bands of people who spoke no language that he knew. But those weren’t the most difficult.Difficult were the three months he spent riding above 12,500 feet in Tibet, subsisting entirely on water, rice, flour and sugar with no more authority to be there than the few letters from a Chinese official allowing passage for him and companions until travel documents could be secured.More difficult yet was a ride – on road bikes – across Pakistan’s Babusar Pass, not quite 14,000 feet, a route that he says hadn’t been used since the British were in India.But most challenging of all was negotiating the Darian Gap, the unroaded forested province in Panama and Columbia. With two other cyclists on what they called the Too Tyred Tour, they spent three weeks bushwhacking through the thick vegetation.Williams made his way around the world, stopping at places like Cape Town, South Africa, and Chamonix, France, to work for several months at a time before continuing on. It cost him about $1,000 a month to be on the road. He got only one grant, for $4,000, during all his years of riding.Crested Butte locals short on cash for ski areaCRESTED BUTTE – As owners of the Crested Butte ski area looked for a buyer, it seems that a group of local residents were interested in buying it. But they couldn’t put the money together quickly enough, and a buyer is expected to be chosen imminently.”The financing is just more than I could figure out how to do,” said Linda Powers, mayor of Crested Butte, who met with about a dozen other potential investors.This quiet talk began last June after Hal Clifford, author of “Downhill Slide,” gave a warmly received talk in Crested Butte about how other communities have bought and operated ski areas.Powers then asked Frank Bell, town manager, to investigate. The Crested Butte News reports Bell found two major issues: 1) financing; and 2) figuring out how to manage the thing once it was purchased – to sell real estate, or strictly to manage it for skiing.Colorado has only three such ski areas: Lake County’s Ski Cooper, Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill, and Silverton’s Kendall. Winter Park is also community owned, but the community is Denver, 68 miles away.Steamboat kids monitoring roadkillSTEAMBOAT SPRING – Several fifth-graders are getting an early look into some of the basic issues in conservation biology. Taking part in a Critter Control project, they are using Global Information Systems technology to help monitor roadkill along Highway 40, which bisects the community. One of their goals is to figure out why particular animals cross the highway in specific areas.
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