More objectivity, less cheerleading

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To The Editor:
It seems everyone is jumping on the resort bandwagon and, after attending the informational meeting last week, I have to concede that the plans do sound exciting.  

Nonetheless, the full build proposal comes with a $74 million price tag to taxpayers.  The accompanying resort has a 629-unit capacity.  It all requires an incredible leap of faith.  You have to believe that winters will stay cold when the trend over the last 20 years is in the opposite direction.  The last 12 years through 2012 have all fallen among the 14 warmest years on record since reliable global record keeping began in 1880.  

Good skiing over Christmas has become the exception rather than the norm.  If last winter had been as warm as the previous one, would we even be talking about a $74 million expansion?
What happens if next winter follows rather than bucks the trend?  Crossroads Ventures would have its inflated buyout and Belleayre would have new terrain it can’t keep snow on.  Does the harsh reality of the last dozen years justify building a base lodge to rival Killington?  

Regarding the development, we’re told that the crowds of vacationers will arrive on schedule.  But the great hotels of the past both here and along Route 17 folded because of a lack of guests, not enthusiasm.  Tastes change.  The bunker-style Highmount Spa would charge over $300/night. I hope investors are sure there’s a market for this before they blast the top off of my Todd Mountain.  Once the mistakes are made, the land and our trust will be forever scared.

What is needed at this critical juncture is a little more objectivity and a little less cheerleading.  Why exactly does the developer need two resorts and why does our state government want to underwrite this risky, grandiose venture when a more reasonable alternative is staring us in the face?

Matt Frisch,
Todd Mountain, Shandaken