Paving paradise

The pre-election Q&A brochure put costs of the project at $74 million, but now the project is being tabbed at $138 million to cover increased construction costs, infrastructure and land costs. Councilman Dwayne Romero, according to the Aspen Daily News, wants to get to the bottom of the debacle: “This is a fundamental question of trust and confidence in our city government.”

In Vail and Eagle County, affordable workforce housing is an equally politically charged issue. The recently approved Battle Mountain project in Minturn will provide housing for 50 percent of the resort’s workforce — 25 percent of it either on the property or in the town – but Vail officials are concerned that will further deplete their pool of workers, many of whom live in Leadville, which is on the south side of Minturn and considerably closer to the proposed new ski and golf resort.

And further “down valley,” as the locals like to say, west along Interstate 70 in the former sheep-herding haven of Wolcott (20 miles from Vail), developer Rick Hermes has reportedly entered into a agreement with the major landowners in the area, the Jouflas family, to begin master planning for an undisclosed number of workforce and local’s housing units on 2,600 acres of land.

His only promise thus far, according to the Vail Daily? “No big boxes!” That’s a reference to the proliferation of Wal-Mart Supercenters, Home Depots and Costco’s between Avon and Glenwood Springs.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.