September 10, 2008: Over-the-top wage picture presented

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To The Editor:
In addition to being offensive to weekenders, who have as much stake in the area’s economy as anyone and who pay half the taxes as well, the jobs and salaries listed in Crossroads Ventures latest bulk mailing should be captioned, “for comparison purposes only.” 
Crossroads would likely sell their coveted permit package to the highest bidder, take the money and go.  The resort operator would pay as low wages with as few benefits as the job market would bear.  Granted a large new resort hotel near the base of Belleayre could employ lots of local residents.
Moreover, such a development plan could be fast-tracked to approval but Crossroads insists on two resorts with the Highmount Spa Resort planned for the top of the ridge.  This is the source of much of the opposition from local residents, Greene County and environmentalists. 
With 240 lodging units above 2,600 feet, an underground spa blasted into the mountain and 19 three-bedroom timeshare houses on the hog’s back, this is exploitation, not development.  It would spawn additional mountaintop exploitation and our area’s greatest natural asset would be scarred.  The Highmount Spa plan relies on $10s of millions in taxpayer subsidy, for new trails and lifts to serve five-star guests and timeshare owners that has engendered stiff opposition from surrounding ski areas.  Belleayre’s “two-fer” lift tickets would not survive pressure from Greene County and skier visits would drop.
A single hotel near the base would likely drain the local labor pool.  The second, environmentally-unsound hotel is not about helping the local economy. It’s about helping the developers to an over-the-top payday at everyone’s, locals and weekenders, expense.

Matt Frisch,
Arkville