Delaware supervisors vow Crossroads support

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By Jay Braman Jr.
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous resolution last Wednesday in support of the $400 million Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, a development proposal slated to occupy land in both Delaware and Ulster counties.

And, while the Ulster County Legislature passed a similar resolution last month following warnings from staunch opponents of the plan, the Delaware lawmakers heard no opposition.
Individual members of the board praised the project and its backers. The most vocal support came from Dennis Valente, supervisor of the Town of Davenport and Chairman of the Delaware County Economic Development Committee, Len Utter, supervisor of the Town of Middletown, Martin Donnelly, supervisor of the Town of Andes and Jim Eisel, supervisor of the Town of Harpersfield and chairman of the board of supervisors.

“The Delaware County Board of Supervisors is committed to, and strongly supports economic development and the tourism industry in Delaware County,” reads the beginning of the measure, which also notes that the county has suffered loss of jobs, reduced household income and a drop in sales tax revenue during the recent economic downturn.

The one-and-a-half page document supports claims made by Crossroads Ventures and its leader, Big Indian-based businessman Dean Gitter, who has been pushing for the project’s approval for over a decade. Supporters say the project has undergone the longest environmental review of any development project in New York State history. Crossroads states the project will create 541 full-time jobs and 230 part-time jobs and add $167 million a year to the local economy. Gitter also says that the current version of the project is a scaled-back plan agreed to in 1997 by Crossroads, several environmental groups and New York State. That change, he says, adds $150 million in cost to the project.

According to the resolution, the board of supervisors is now “committed to working with Crossroads Ventures, LLC and offering any appropriate assistance to acquire permits, licenses and/or easements to assure the development of the resort…”
On Monday Gitter was pleased with the results. “Crossroads is gratified by the continued support of Delaware County and I, personally am humbled by the kind words of the board members,” he said. “We look forward to the time when their support and enthusiasm is vindicated.”
Gitter added that the Crossroads team is working diligently to complete the plans, which he says will assure the public of the economic and environmental benefits of this public-private partnership among the Belleayre Ski Center, the environmental community and Crossroads.
“We are confident that the DEC’s undertaking to expand Belleayre in concert with the construction of the Belleayre Resort will result in one of the most attractive ski and recreation venues in the Northeast,” said Gitter.