September 10, 2008: Is Crossroads resort worth the risk?

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To The Editor:
Earlier in the summer Partners for Progress sent out an insulting flyer showing photographs that they said represented our neighborhoods with falling down houses and dump-like properties. I felt like they were saying that we live like slobs. I do not feel that that is an honest representation of me or my neighbors or surrounding communities and I felt badly when I saw it.
The signs that read, “Belleayre; our economic engine” is a slogan I happen to agree with, but if one looks past the sign and the website, Partners for Progress is not about supporting the state-run, family-oriented Belleayre Ski Center, they are about supporting the Crossroads mega-development Belleayre.  The millions of dollars proposed to be given by NY State to the Crossroads-mega-development-Belleayre will not help expand the state-run, family-ski-mountain-Belleayre, our economic engine, but will be put into boring ski trails and expensive chair lifts that lead to the Crossroads-mega-development-Belleayre. I feel like that is not supporting our economic engine, but Crossroads’ economic engine.
The most recent flyer takes the cake. It gives a budget list of job opportunities as well as payroll numbers, just as if it was taken out of an actual budget. In a meeting with Paul Rakov, the former press representative for Crossroads, in fall of 2007 at the Woodstock Democratic Club, Rakov went through all these numbers and great job opportunities to then finally state that none of their financial job reports mattered because Crossroads was not even going to be managing the final resort. A hotel chain would be running the resort, and the new management would decide the pay scale and jobs needed.  Crossroads is hoping for a successful hotel operator to take over the project. What are their pay scales and job titles?
Rakov also said that all the construction jobs would be union jobs and the workers would travel from Newburgh and Poughkeepsie and would stay in local inns and motels during the week. We should all be happy for the additional business of people driving in, buying gas, drinking in bars and staying in local lodges. So this last flyer is enticing and looks financially beneficial to all of us, but in the end, remember that the Crossroads developers will not be deciding what jobs or what salaries will be offered. The actual owner-operator-corporation will make those financial decisions.  Is it worth our communities to take that chance?  Let’s join forces and push for NY State to put money into state-run-family-ski-mountain-Belleayre so we can all enjoy the benefits by expanding and developing the Cathedral Glen trail and further enhancing state-run-family-ski-mountain-Belleayre and get the development off the top of the mountain to protect our view-shed and storm water run-off.

Jennifer Benusis,
Arkville