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Visualize the alternatives

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to Jeff Hall, in response to his Jan. 24 letter.)Jeff, you are correct about one point in your letter: “The land and this area are far too valuable to walk away from.” But, you are not correct in assuming that Skico/Intrawest will come back with Base Village lite. The parcels in question can presently be developed as townhomes and condos without having to go through another four-year review process which already has cost the developers in excess of $5 million to date. Visualize Two Creeks at the entrance to our mountain. It is clear to all those who have thoroughly studied the details of the development plan that a smaller Base Village would be an economic disaster for the future viability of the resort/community – think Highlands Village and all the compromises that went into downsizing that project, which is a failure by everyone’s standards.Condos and townhomes on these parcels would be financially beneficial to the developer over a much shorter time frame. But the community benefits from this type of development are minuscule compared to the benefits derived from Base Village. These units will clearly not be hot beds and will remain dark a good part of the year – visualize The Enclave, Chamonix and Woodrun Place. We lose the on-mountain improvements – no world-class children’s center, no gondola, no express lift to Sam’s Knob, no Elk Camp recreation development, etc. Obviously, the Skico will not let the current mountain infrastructure deteriorate, but all we’ll get is ongoing maintenance and the periodic replacement of time-worn equipment. Also, we lose the Westin Conference Hotel and The Little Nell; we lose the multimillion dollars in contributions toward a new recreation center at the entryway, contributions to reduce our Holy Cross electric bills, which will begin escalating this year to pay for the Brush Creek underground-line project, contributions to the Brush Creek stream restoration, contributions toward the building of a roundabout at Brush Creek/Wood Road and Carriageway snowmelt, etc.By the way, Base Village is not about substantially increasing our winter business. We are currently competitive in this season. However, in the not-too-distant future we also will be at a competitive disadvantage in the winter based on what is being developed at competitive destination resorts. Base Village is about major improvement in summer business and hopefully some slight extension into the shoulder seasons. We can absorb substantial increases in visitors in these seasons without negatively impacting anyone’s quality of life.If Base Village goes down at the polls on Feb. 3, I hope you and the other opponents have a better plan ready to go and the investment to make it a reality. By the way, next time there is a major development or redevelopment proposal being considered and reviewed, I would suggest that you and all similarly concerned residents actively participate in the process as opposed to waiting until the corral is closed. Many of us invested many hours of our time and money to participate in this process during the last four years. I don’t remember seeing or hearing your participation when it may have been useful.Think long and hard about the future of this resort/community and what are the driving elements of an economically viable village that maintains the level of lifestyle we all cherish in Snowmass.Mel D. Blumenthal, presidentEnclave Homeowners AssociationSnowmass Village


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