March 18, 2009: Sad commentary on Belleayre Resort

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To The Editor:
Susanna Margolis writes some amazing letters but last week’s topped them all. Comparing plans to expand Belleayre Mountain Ski Center with the construction of Yankee Stadium is a colorful fantasy that has no basis in reality. Let me count the ways.
The State of New York will not be investing a single penny in a private enterprise related to Crossroads Ventures and the Belleayre Resort. Any investment the state makes will be capital improvements at a 60-year-old, state-owned and state-operated ski facility or else investments in purchasing land that the state would own and add to its forever-wild holdings.
No public parkland is being taken to build anything here. Everything Crossroads builds will be built on private property already on the tax rolls and parklands will be added, not subtracted, as a result of this project.
No new public infrastructure will be required for the Crossroads project. Existing public roads have more than enough capacity to accommodate any increase in traffic, and any new roads built on resort property will be private roads, built, owned and maintained by developers.
Ms. Margolis says Yankee Stadium only provided 22 jobs. I don’t have their numbers but I find that really hard to believe. Construction jobs, player and management jobs, concession stand jobs, stadium maintenance and operation jobs, surely there must be more than 22 people involved. Here, we will create well over 2,100 person years of construction jobs and at full build out, a total of 541 permanent, full-time jobs with another 230 part-time jobs.
The writer says we will exploit a public treasure — open-space mountainside. Has she looked recently? The only public treasure there, is a well-developed ski center bringing 200,000 visitors a year. Our property is not public property, it’s private property, and there will still be lots of open space on it when we’re done.
No one in this community is being asked to subsidize our project. Her assertion that we are asking for public funding is simply not true. The local public benefit to the community begins the day of groundbreaking when construction jobs begin. Our property taxes will be increased the day property improvements begin and will continue to increase until the entire project is complete.
We have not asked for any economic stimulus money to be spent on our project and those requesting that money are asking for it to expand the Belleayre ski facility. Even if we never build, an expanded ski center brings more jobs immediately for construction workers and more long-term jobs for locals who work at Belleayre. Ms. Margolis seems to think that some jobs are worthy of economic stimulus funding, but not the jobs of the many hard-working people who operate the ski center. Maybe if Ms. Margolis depended on a job in this area for her living, she would understand how important these jobs are here.
Like so many of her “anti-development at any cost” cohorts it seems that she is willing to sell out any positive future for the Belleayre Ski Center just to stop the Belleayre Resort from being built. It’s a sad commentary.

Joan Lawrence-Bauer
Director of Public Relations
Crossroads Ventures, LLC