Coalition to Save Belleyare wants stimulus money
By Jay Braman Jr.
The Coalition to Save Belleayre wants federal economic stimulus funds to be used at the state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Center.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is expected to provide $24.6 billion in additional funding for Medicaid, education, infrastructure and “shovel-ready” projects throughout New York State. Joe Kelly, chairman of the Coalition to Save Belleayre, says the ski center’s expansion fits the bill.
“The expansion of Belleayre Ski Center is a project that meets all the criteria for the economic stimulus programs signed into law by President Obama last week,” Kelly said Monday. “It is green. It is infrastructure. It is shovel-ready. It creates immediate and long- term employment. It is in an area that is in great need. It will help stem declining school enrollments, closing churches and businesses, increasing unemployment and the out-migration of our work force.”
He added that the ski center’s unit management plan, a blueprint for the ski center’s expansion that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been preparing for several years, is all but completed. With the plans drawn, Kelly said, hiring workers and getting the job underway could begin rapidly. “This expansion will be done meeting a high standard of environmental sustainability,” according to Kelly.” The DEC is more than qualified to get this done and get it done right, a factor that President Obama has emphasized as crucial.”
Belleayre’s expansion plan has received considerable community attention ever since 2007 when it was linked to the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park project, a private sector plan being advanced by Crossroads Ventures LLC.
The $400 million resort, which would straddle the border of Ulster and Delaware counties, first was proposed by Crossroads in 1999, but was modified as part of the 2007 agreement. Under the current plan, the resort would comprise two complexes; one with a 250-room hotel and 139 townhouse-style lodging units surrounding an 18-hole golf course; the other with a 120-room hotel and spa, 60 lodging units in two buildings and another 60 detached units in up to 52 buildings.
The state’s end of the deal calls for new lifts and trails to be built next to the resort on 78 acres, which would be purchased by the state. There is no actual dollar amount attached to the plan at this point.
Meanwhile, the Town of Shandaken, which hosts Belleayre, is eyeing stimulus funds for other projects as well. Supervisor Peter DiSclafani said he is looking for $1 million to go toward the proposed Phoenicia sewer project plus additional funds for a wastewater retrofit project in Pine Hill. He also hopes to secure money to rehabilitate the crumbling town hall.