Ryan parcel deal hinges on raising some cash | AspenTimes.com

Ryan parcel deal hinges on raising some cash

David Middleton has a month and a half to raise almost half a million dollars.

Middleton, who has arranged to sell the Ryan parcel in Ashcroft to the Aspen Valley Land Trust and Pitkin County’s Open Space and Trails program, agreed to raise the last $475,000 to close the deal, with the help of AVLT. He said Friday he has verbal commitments for a significant amount of the money, but other donors are still needed.

Middleton arranged to sell the 35-acre parcel for $3,225,000. The land trust has agreed to chip in $1.5 million and the Open Space program will ante up $1.25 million, leaving the balance of $475,000. The money must be raised by Nov. 15, Middleton said.

Some Ashcroft neighbors and others have expressed a willingness to donate money toward purchasing the parcel in the past, Middleton said, but they wanted some assurance that the land would be preserved. Now that a plan is in place, with most of the necessary signatures, Middleton said he thinks he can get firm commitments.

No organizations or foundations have come forward so far, he said.

He said AVLT will be able to help figure the tax benefits of such a contribution for prospective donors.

Raising the funds should ensure the sale – and preservation – of the property, which is at the core of Ashcroft Ski Touring’s trail network.

Middleton said he’s relieved that the parties involved arrived at a deal. “There’s really not anything foreseeable that can stop this,” he said. He expressed gratitude to the two organizations that have agreed to fund the largest portion of the purchase, after months of negotiations.

“I think Dale and Reid and the AVLT and Open Space boards need to be congratulated for being persistent,” he said. “They deserve everyone’s thanks.” Dale Will is executive director of the Open Space program and Reid Haughey is director of the land trust.

The 35-acre parcel, formerly owned by the estate of skiing pioneer Ted Ryan, is located halfway between the King Cabin and the Pine Creek Cookhouse, on the west side of Castle Creek Road. Ashcroft Ski Touring has leased the property from the estate since present operator John Wilcox took over the business in 1986. Ashcroft is located south of Aspen in the scenic Castle Creek Valley.

Middleton, owner of the nearby Elk Mountain Lodge, contracted to buy the parcel to prevent its development in 1997 when it appeared it would be sold for a luxury home. Middleton put the parcel on the real estate market in January.

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