Jan. 23, 2008: Resort issues

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To The Editor:
I received an e-mail from the M-ARK Project today inviting me to sign a petition to our governor in favor of the purposed Belleayre Project. I have been against this development for some time now to the extent that I had added my signature to the Save the Mountain petition.
In the spirit of fairness I went to the address of the touted website to view the list of signatures appended to the petition. To no surprise I saw many that were from Ulster County. Well, I cannot fault them for that it is only right and proper for they are the ones to profit.
Attached to some signatures were remarks. One remarked, “We love Belleayre Mountain. I feel it is one of the best values around. The problem is finding someplace to stay as we live over three hours away. It seems like it would be a great asset to the area.” Now we know that there are many B&Bs as well as motels and places, Hanna (sic) comes to mind, to stay here in our county. In point of fact they are all feeling the pinch.
You see, I bring this up because what? I am a businessman in Margaretville and selfish to the extent that I wish to enhance local merchants. I plead guilty to this show of greed but I do not relish the hurting of others. As someone who has spent half a lifetime in the restaurant business I am concerned with the knowledge that the proposed resort would feature up to five restaurants and wonder what will become of the local ones.
Accommodations are said to number upwards of over 600 units, if as planned they would place the local motels etc. as supernumeraries in the scheme of accommodations.
In addition there are plans for 10 retail stores. There are hardly that many in Margaretville with most starving. I repeat that for Ulster County this might be a good thing, let’s leave it to them to decide, but for eastern Delaware County it is the death knoll.
We, the local merchants, should ask, “who profits?” and in my parochial view I answer, “not us.” And yes it can be pointed out that some of our local contractor and day workers may see some opportunity, and I emphasize may, for if this proposed development mimics like developments in other places the labor force will be from out of the area.
Addressing the nostalgia voiced in the remark “I remember when our local economy was driven by the 50 or more hotels within a 10-mile radius of the Belleayre Ski Center” it is wise to remember, that was a different age, and that generation has passed away. The current generation does not go to mountain resorts; they go on cruises and such.
It is discouraging to see some of our “leading citizens” supporting a project out of our county with so much gusto that one wonders what their motive is.
Stuart E Buswell,
Margaretville