Letter to the Editor: First Selectman Asks Residents to Support Sale of Powder Ridge

Jon Brayshaw says deal with Brownstone will set a successful course for the ski area's next 50 years.


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

Just my opinion August 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Be smart just vote no. If we do not sell and keep the property and remove the buildings and let the property stand it won't cost us any more than it already does . Why give it away. No deal is worth throwing away a good piece of property. The only person to benefit largely is the person making the purchase. Plus the town says they don't want to be a landlord and do a lease however they are willing to be a bank? Sounds kind of crazy to me.
Rob August 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Great article Mr. Brayshaw. It is sad that anyone would lie or distort facts just for personal and selfish reasons. Lets be honest, the people that live on Powder Hill and Long Hill Roads have been against every deal to sell Powder Ridge. They are also a huge part of the reason we are in this position today. They are hiding behind the excuse that we are going to lose money, and they are the reason for all of this. If they didn't fight the water park for so long and run Mr. Leavitt out of money he would probably have a thriving business. So the fact remains that they are directly responsible for this mess, and they continue to do harm by spreading untruths. I believe that residents can see through this groups selfishness and will do the right thing on Thursday,leave the politics at home and vote YES!
Michael Skelps August 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Be smart, just vote no???? That doesn't make an ounce of sense. I've seen the property and I've spoken with Sean Hayes. He has a good plan to bring back skiing and I'm 110% behind it. Seems to me that people complaining that the selling price is too low are a little myopic. If you've been up to see the property, you would know that the ONLY way ANYTHING good is going to happen is for someone to come in and make a MAJOR investment in the property. We don't happen to have investors lined up around the block, but we do have one good committed investor. Let's get behind this deal and get Powder Ridge back on track! Let's really be smart and vote YES!
Just my opinion August 13, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Yes just vote NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will vote no and many others will also all I can do is hope enough vote no to stop this.
Amy Poturnicki August 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM
JMO, The removal of buildings and run down equipment alone will be extremely expensive. I have heard the figure of $450k, I have also heard it could be much more due to all hazardous material. We will forever pay increasing property taxes to Meriden and Wallingford as well as other expenses of the property that totals around $25,000 yr. If we sell, we save money by losing the tax bill we are paying for the property, we will receive property taxes from the new owner, which increases annually as improvements are made, it will provide jobs for our kids, a place for them to go for recreation, a place adults can go to socialize, eat, etc., other local businesses will benefit from the spin-offs. If we don't sell now, we will keep incurring enormous debt every year from attorney fees related to trying to preserve the property as people voted for until the buildings are required to be removed. The benefits outweigh the impact to taxpayers if we don't sell.
Michael Skelps August 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
It's interesting that the naysayers prefer to remain anonymous here. Of course, that's just my opinion.
Fed Up August 13, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Haha, nice play on words. It's just my opinion that this person does not have enough common sense to make their own decision and is listening to people that only have their personal interests in mind and are spewing garbage to whoever will listen. Anyone that knows the facts and uses some logic will understand that YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is the only correct vote for the towns future.
Brigid August 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Amen to that, Rob. Finally, another person who has been following this for a long time and remembers everything the neighbors did to sabotage Powder Ridge.
april August 13, 2012 at 06:15 PM
We need to support the deal. If we don't have Powder Ridge it is going to be a winter without snow lets put Middlefield and history back on the map again. We might not find another person willing to get the place up and running again. Give him credit. Everything needs to be updated and he is willing to improve it. VOTE YES on August 16 We need this to put Middlefield back on the map again.
Cindy August 14, 2012 at 02:34 AM
What? Are you kidding? It will of course cost us more money if we keep it! Look at Amy's figures below! And we as a town did not buy it to maintain it as open space. We bought it to sell it to someone to bring skiing back and that is what we have in front of us right now. The town will benefit enormously from this sale. How sad that you fail to see that and will vote no which is not in the best interests of the town.
Fed Up August 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Cindy, look at the thought process here, what else would you expect. Someone thinks it is smart to keep it and remove the buildings, lifts, compressors etc... It will realistically cost about another 1/2 of a million dollars, yep, that's smart. Thet say "why give it away"? We are not giving it away. Unfortunately this is someone who refuses to look at the facts responsibily, and is basing their decision on a distorted view of the facts, or they are being told what to think. Either way, it's too bad that they cant see the benefits, or don't want to see the benefits.
Fed Up August 14, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Stephanie August 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM
To Fed Up... Choosing NOT to vote... MEANS You forfiet right to complain about anything!
Mickey August 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM
My guess is that Fed Up will vote- Just warning those that don't vote may end up choosing NOT to go for the deal. The important thing is to vote- its a wonderful right that we have to make change, and for all that goes into protecting that right- We should all take advantage of that opportunity. Everyone should vote, either way- but go vote.
Fed Up August 14, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Sorry if I wasn't clear Stephanie. I should have written NOT VOTING IS THE SAME AS VOTING NO...PLEASE VOTE YES! Mickey is absolutely correct, I will be voting. I haven't fallen for the twisted version of the truth that Marianne, the Pizzos and the rest of the selfish people are spreading. If they had a consence they would be ashamed of themselves.


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