This week could prove critical to the resurrection of Powder Ridge.
On Wednesday, Middlefield's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency will hold a public hearing on a proposal by Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort to dredge a pond on the property to provide additional water storage for snowmaking.
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Community Center.
It's been six months since the owners of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland purchased the property from the Town of Middlefield for $700,000.
Improvements at the site continue, according to managing director Sean Hayes, who visited with the town's Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 13 for an informal discussion of the property's site plan.
Hayes has proposed dredging about 20,000 yards of material from the pond located at the base of the hill in order to double its water capacity from four million gallons to eight million gallons, an amount he says is needed to make about one foot of snow on about 40 acres.
The material taken from the pond, he said, would be kept on the site and used to create additional features used by skiers and snowboarders.
The new owner expects to open Powder Ridge to skiers in December, with 22 trails and between 50-60 snow guns for snowmaking.
During his meeting with the commission, Hayes expressed some urgency over the process, telling members that he hoped to complete the dredging work before spring.
"Timing is becoming critical because if we miss frozen ground we're going to have to wait for summer," said Hayes, who's previously met on several occasions with the IWWA.
Workers meanwhile have have spent the past several months restoring and rebuilding the abandoned ski area at 99 Powder Hill Road, including a nearly completed ski rental building. Rennovations to the ski area's restaurant and lodge continue as well, Hayes said.
Soon there will be mountain biking, and later tubing.
"It'll be the first half-mile tubing run in the state," Hayes told the commission.
Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort has also advertised mountain biking and wedding and event planning.
The PZC has scheduled its own public hearing for March 13 to decide whether to approve a Special Permit needed for the dredging.
"We're building to accomodate 30,000 to 35,000 customers. That's what we're building to, today," Hayes told the commission.
Correction: Patch orginally reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission had scheduled a March 13 public hearing to deal with "minor" changes to the site plan. The hearing will be to review and authorize a Special Permit needed for dredging. We apologize for the error.