This Thursday August 16th we as citizens of Middlefield and Rockfall need to get out and vote YES on the referendum to sell Powder Ridge.
Following the Public Hearing on Powder Ridge, Susan Bransfield, long time First Selectman of Portland (one of several speakers) left me with a kind compliment that I would like to share; her opinion of the hearing was that it was well run and she was impressed with the quality of the presentation. I agree. Having sat through many I know the stress (and passion)…….even among friends…….that hearings create. Following a presentation by Sean Hayes, the Agreement was dissected for nearly two hours. Many good points were brought up. The deal the Town worked out with Brownstone must be looked at as the “sum of the parts”. We require the buyer to produce skiing which is not easy. Remember in everything you have read and heard both sides had to make accommodation. Several times I have used the analogy comparing a couples search for a new home. They may look at many but see none that “fits the bill” in every regard. In the end, their choice ends up being a compromise of sorts. Such is the Agreement with Brownstone. It is a fair deal for the Town and fully able to meet the needs of the Town.
I do look for the day the Town can move on to other issues. What has taken a toll on me personally is the amount of effort others have spent on spreading false and misleading information about the deal. It is downright wrong to state that the sale will result in higher taxes. That’s the message being spread. Today we pay for all the expenses on Powder Ridge. After the sale the property related expenses will be paid by the buyer. In addition, as they spend money making improvements and buying equipment, the taxes Powder Ridge pays will increase.
And finally, I personally wish that the PR operation never blinked and carried on over the past ten years as it had for the previous forty. Powder Ridge has been a part of our lives for 50 years, so why are some violently opposed to the restoration? To me, Powder Ridge is certainly part of why people move here and stay here for a lifetime. For 50 years Power Ridge has been a part of Middlefield; like the Durham Fair is a part of Durham; and the Seaport is a part of Mystic. How else can I say it!
And finally, finally I want readers to appreciate one of the compelling reasons I push on. Most likely, at 70, I will not be found on skis or on a snowboard in the “half pipe”. I will be the happy grandfather content to sit and watch the next 50 years of Powder Ridge Ski Area begin.
Jon A. Brayshaw
First Selectman - Middlefield