Local and state officials were led on a 30 minute tour of Powder Ridge ski area on Tuesday morning.
The tour was led by Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw and Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park owner Sean Hayes, who agreed this month to buy the property from the town for $700,000.
Hayes told officials he plans to invest between $3.5 to $5 million dollars in "phase one" of his efforts to turn the property into a winter adventure park.
"We will draw from 200 miles away, from New York to Boston, to this facility," Hayes said. "We know Powder Ridge, what it can do. It's an established industry."
The new business would create about 12-15 full-time and 150 seasonal jobs, according to Hayes. Hayes said Middlefield would receive about $40,000 in annual taxes on the property, a figure he said would increase as more investment was made the in the property.
Hayes and Brayshaw were joined on the tour by Durham First Selectman Laura Francis, State Sen. Len Suzio, State Rep. Buddy Altobello, Middlefield Economic Development Commission chairman Charles Kreitler, town attorney Kenneth Antin, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh and Staff Director Brian O'Connor.
"It's a regional asset that has a trickle down effect, not just to Middlefield but all of the neighboring communities," Francis said. "The people of Durham are looking forward to [Powder Ridge] being operational again."
Hayes personally escorted the group through two buildings on the deteriorating property, which has sat vacant for five years and is now .
Hayes said he was confident that he could combine the success he's had in Portland with Powder Ridge in Middlefield to make Route 66 a destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts and families.
"We need all the support we can get, because if we let it go much longer it's just going to be torn down and Powder Ridge is going to be a thing of the past," Brayshaw told the group.
A Crucial Week for Powder Ridge's Future
This week may turn out to be a crucial week for the future of the once prosperous ski area.
Tonight, Middlefield's Economic Development Commission will discuss the agreement between the town and Hayes during a special meeting at the Community Center. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, selectmen will hold a special meeting to receive an update on an audit of Hayes' finances. The information, according to Brayshaw, will be released to the public before a vote.
Also, the town's finance board has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday and the agenda includes a discussion on Powder Ridge.
Selectmen will set a date for a second public hearing on the sale of the property at next week's meeting, according to Brayshaw.
Hayes, meanwhile, is putting together a powerpoint presentation to share his vision of the property with residents before they vote on whether to approve the deal.
"We will follow the edict of the people," Brayshaw said. "I think we as a town should embrace Brownstone. I think we should be doing everything in our power to move the thing along."