Allowing massive new Village at Wolf Creek the right decision
The proposed Village at Wolf Creek development has made quite a stir in the news. Rightly so, considering the size of the development, which could have more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space and housing for 10,000 people. What’s unfortunate, however, are the attacks made by some people who oppose the development. As the state senator representing Mineral County, where the development is proposed, I have taken many steps to ensure I have the proper information. To begin, I attended the April 7 public meeting in Creede to hear firsthand both sides of the issue and to learn more about the proposal. I felt the meeting was conducted in an unbiased fashion and presented objective facts to the attendees. All questions were answered in a complete and honest manner. The only disappointment from the meeting was represented by three open chairs on the panel. These three seats were for three opponents who have been very vocal in their opposition. Those missing were Congressman John Salazar, state Sen. Jim Isgar and state Rep. Mark Larson. I personally think they missed a very informative chance to hear both sides of the debate. My suspicion is that the opponents may have changed their minds about the development, or at least they would have left with a better understanding and less aversion to the idea. While not necessarily endorsing the project as a state senator, I will say I believe the Mineral County commissioners have made the right decision to allow the Village at Wolf Creek to proceed. It represents a huge economic boost to a rural part of Colorado. It will bring jobs and tax revenue. It will bring tourists, who otherwise would never have come to southwest Colorado. Further, as a senator representing seven ski areas from Aspen to Wolf Creek, I know the pros and cons of major developments at ski areas. I encourage those interested or opposed to the project to take a hard look at the concept design of the development and submit their thoughts to the appropriate elected officials. Ultimately, however, this is a local decision – not a decision that should be made at the state or federal level, except where the roads impact federal lands. On this front, the U.S. Forest Service recently approved construction of two roads across national forest land to reach the proposed development – considered a major step toward completion. While controversial to the opponents of the project, the Forest Service made the right decision according to federal law. A Forest Service spokesman said the agency’s responsibility was to provide access to the private land. He also said the Forest Service will not endorse or oppose the project – just as it should be. From my perspective, the commissioners there, who are elected to represent the people in Mineral County, need to provide the leadership and ensure the decision made is done so in an honest and respectable fashion. They must also ensure that whatever happens, it is in the best interests of all those they represent. I have no doubt this will be the case. Lewis Entz represents state Senate District 5, which includes Pitkin County. He can be reached at the Capitol at (303) 866-4871.
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