Belleayre funding earmarked in budget
By Jay Braman Jr.
Thanks to Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Belleayre Mountain Ski Center has its own chunk of state funds, even though it’s now in the hands of the Olympic Region Development Authority (ORDA).
ORDA, which took over operation of the mountain from the state just last fall, normally gets state funding to help run its other facilities, Whiteface and Gore, in the Adirondacks.
There has been concern locally that Belleayre would become the neglected stepchild of ORDA unless safeguards were put in place to avoid such a circumstance, and earlier this month Cahill announced that the assembly’s budget proposal included language that would ensure that Belleayre Mountain Ski Center would continue to receive adequate funding in light of its recent absorption by ORDA. Cahill advocated that a portion of the funding allocated within the budget to ORDA be specifically directed toward the Shandaken facility for lift maintenance, building upkeep, and other infrastructure and preventative repair projects.
When a final budget agreement was reached between the governor, the senate and the assembly, Cahill’s office got word from on high that Belleayre was taken care of.
“Of the ORDA appropriation, $1 million has been specifically earmarked for Belleayre,” said Cahill spokesperson Courtney Adrian Friday.
On Tuesday, Belleayre’s acting general manager, Tom Tar, said that the Belleayre/ORDA team still await all the details on the allocation, but in the meantime are looking at how to get the most bang for the buck.
Without saying exactly what projects would be done, Tar noted that it may be used to enhance the skier experience with either a lodge expansion or perhaps a modification of the current facilities to better suit the needs of visitors. “We have space problems here,” he said.
In the meantime, Cahill is glad that Belleayre has something from the state.
“Last year when it was decided that Belleayre would fall under ORDA’s direction, I made a commitment that I would closely monitor the implementation of the transfer and would work to ensure that the authority was held accountable for providing the resources and attention needed to assure Belleayre’s success as an economic engine in the area,” said Cahill. “Belleayre has been hit with a hugely disproportionate reduction in funding compared to other agencies of the state over the past few years. It is important now more than ever that the ski center receive the kind of support and attention that will ensure its continued position as the center of commerce for the Route 28 corridor and a tremendous recreational facility for so many New Yorkers.”