Nov. 26, 2008: Timing is wrong for Belleayre Resort

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To The Editor:
Statements by Joan Lawrence-Bauer and Joe Kelly (‘CHA asks Gov,’ November 25) to the effect that the proposed Belleayre mega-resort means jobs and a growth stimulus for our region would be wrong in good economic times; in the present crisis, they are so dangerously wrong as to constitute a cruel hoax.
First, it has been demonstrated time and again that developments of this sort never-never ever ever-fulfill the developer’s promises for jobs and growth. Those promises nevertheless continue to be made-mindlessly and routinely, by rote-in the same way that politicians promise pork and used-car salesmen promise a fantastic deal. It’s just part of the game.
Second, developments of the very kind Crossroads proposes for Belleayre are toppling like dominoes all over the country. A recent NPR story reported that across the west, especially in ski areas, time-share destination resorts now sport empty houses and guest-free hotels, and plans for future developments are being tossed in the wastebasket in droves.
It stands to reason. We are in a credit crunch, a housing slump, and-in case you hadn’t noticed-a major recession. When even primary residences have lost so much of their value, it’s unlikely we’ll see investing in second homes, especially under rigid time-share terms, for years to come. It’s why, from Attitash in New Hampshire to Aspen in Colorado, “vacation ownership”programs are going belly-up.
For Lawrence-Bauer and Kelly to insist in the face of these realities that the proposed mega-resort is like a public works program is pretty unconscionable. The resort is nothing more nor less than a private commercial enterprise intended, justifiably, to reap profits for its investors. I don’t blame those investors and their boosters for trying to tell the public it will be good for us, but it isn’t true. And in these times, when we are all cutting back even on necessities and when our government must reduce basic services, should we really be shelling out $60 million in taxpayer money to support a private investment venture?

Susanna Margolis,
Fleischmanns