Highlights from the

Herald Democrat

15 Years Ago

Superfund site to be part of private resort

by Melissa J. Bogard

Herald Intern

July 20, 2006

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The desolate ghost town of Gilman sits alone and abandoned, but it won’t remain that way for long.

The Ginn Company, owned by Edward R. Ginn, has purchased it and much of the surrounding area. The company has big plans to clean up the hazardous site and turn it and the property around it into a private ski resort. Those who choose to live there and their guests can enjoy the vast amenities that will one day occupy the land, assuming all approvals are received. The resort is also expected to create many new employment opportunities that the citizens of Minturn and the surrounding areas, including Lake County, could easily be interested in.

Ginn purchased the land between Red Cliff and Minturn from the Turkey Creek Limited Liability Company for a total of $32.75 million, and plans to develop the land into a private ski and golf resort with live-in communities. Part of the property includes the abandoned mining town of Gilman.

Gilman at one point had numerous mining claims and was consolidated in the 1920s. The town also sits on top of the Eagle Mine, once the world’s largest zinc mine.

However, the toxins from mining were so severe that the town was abandoned in 1983 and the area downstream was declared a Superfund hazardous waste site by the EPA.

The Ginn Company has coordinated with consultants and land-planning experts to develop a conceptual development plan and has performed various studies. Petitions for the annexation of 4,340 acres were filed with the town of Minturn in November 2005.

“The Ginn Company wants to be part of the town of Minturn,” said Cliff Thomas, Ginn Company communications director. “We would like to have the amenities of the town and provide opportunity. The company is going to great lengths to have an inclusive process.”

The resort will be set up in three stages. Stage 1 includes the development of Battle Mountain, Willow Creek and Bolts Lake.

Stage 2 consists of the development of the remaining parts of Battle Mountain and Bolts Lake following remediation. This will take place approximately one year after the completion of Stage 1.

Stage 3 will include the development of the Gilman area. Planning during this phase will take longer due to the cleanup that needs to be done. This will follow approximately five years after Stage 2 is complete. The entire building process could take from 15 to 20 years.

The Bolts Lake area consists of 561.6 acres and is the proposed resort core. It will include lodging, retail, restaurants, spa facilities, resort operations, meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, an aquatic center, a golf course, tennis courts, fishing, gondola transportation facilities and parking/loading facilities.

The Gilman area includes 93.8 acres and will consist of multi-family residences and resort support services.

The Holy Cross area, 1,265.1 acres, will have single-family homes on relatively large lots. It will also offer resort accessory uses and the use of trails and ski/recreation-related functions.

The Rock Creek area of 1,289.5 acres will be the site of attached and detached single-family homes on a variety of lot sizes. Those who live in this area will have access to the resort, trails and ski/recreation-related functions. This area will also include a gondola and ski lift transportation facility, as well as a ski school.

Willow Creek, at 1,130.4 acres, will also include single-family homes and ski facilities.

“The resort will have about 850 employees,” said Senior Vice President Bill Webber. “The employees will be full-time, and, unlike other places, employees will not be laid off at the end of the season. They will stay on throughout the year and will be able to receive benefits.

The company also recognizes the need for adequate, accessible, attainable housing opportunities. Plans may include the development of on-site housing, employee housing in Minturn, and development of housing in Lake and Eagle counties.

Ginn would also like to work with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, and plans on collaborating with Minturn on a housing program.

According to Ginn, Colorado was chosen for the development due to interest from others who have experienced Ginn resorts. The buildings that will be built will be done in a way that will express Colorado’s own unique architecture.

Webber said that the company is old-fashioned and does things in a precise and thorough manner.

“We would rather take our time and do it right the first time rather than have to go back and fix things,” Webber said.

With such a large development, the issue of traffic becomes very important. The company has a goal to develop a traffic plan to minimize or mitigate the traffic by working with the town, consultants and the Colorado Department of Transportation. Ginn has assembled traffic engineers, civil engineers and landscape architects to study the issues and to develop solutions that will be acceptable to Minturn and the surrounding community.

“I believe the development will impact Leadville in a positive way, adding to the economy and creating workers positions,” Webber said.

If anyone is interested in the project, the Ginn Company welcomes involvement in the proposed concept plan.

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