Last Monday evening a group of citizens attended the Board of Selectmen meeting to voice their distain with the deal the town has been working on with the Brownstone people to buy Powder Ridge Ski Area. What got weary was that most of their concerns had been answered during the past or were premature.
Setting the “roast” Jon aspect aside, one item did boil down that I thought we all had resolved years ago when we looked to secure Powder Ridge. The frustration that lingers for some, centers on our buying the property for $3 million and selling it for $1 million. For starters, I assume that readers understand that this Town NEVER bought property to make a PROFIT.
We bought the “Great Lawn” acreage at the Park to enlarge Peckham Park….. yes….. but we REALLY bought the land to prevent homes from being constructed right next to the park. We bought other properties for “quality of life” reasons, not to make a profit.
A few years ago, the Town voted 10 to 1 to secure Powder Ridge if it became available. It did and we did. We then assembled a committee to market the property. The committee found that by restricting residential development, the 246 acres dropped in value to $1 million. Last spring, we voted to sell the entire 246 acres to Alpine for $1 million. At the time, there were no “STOP” mailers and not a peep from anyone.
We spoke as one until October 2011 when Alpine pulled out. The common denominator with each developer that split was that they had nothing planned for the off season. Following Alpine’s departure, local businessman Sean Hayes (Brownstone) showed up with a plan that none of the previous buyers had. Mr. Hayes had thoughts and a vision for the winter and off season. He has spent several months at many venues meeting with people and answering questions.
Since March both our attorneys have been crafting an agreement that looks like the best opportunity we have to sell P.R. to date. Mr. Hayes is busy with contractors and arraigning his finances and finalizing his business plan. The opportunity of restoring skiing and recreation to P.R. will be a tremendous boon to the Town. If all goes well, it’s a win for those who need jobs; a win for the taxpayer; a win for the ski area itself and a win for the spin-offs.
Now that things are getting closer, some of our citizens are getting nervous. Road blocks are showing up. Some are trying to nix the deal. Some want a housing/condo development to generate a profit…… and some want nothing at all.
This Administration has stayed true to your vote (instructions) of 1,000 to 100 to secure and restore Power Ridge Ski Area as best we can. In doing so PR WILL slowly return to being a source of great pride and all the good that goes with such an icon. Hang in.
I love this job
Jon A. Brayshaw
Middlefield First Selectman