Letter to the Editor: Make Up Your Own Mind About Power Ridge

Resident says the future of Middlefied depends on ski area's survival.


Please, all residents of Middlefield, don’t be taken in by the blatant politicizing of the Powder Ridge issue about which so many are making negative comments.  Attend meetings, get the facts and make up your own minds after that.  Do NOT depend on half the story or unsigned mailings. 

The negative comments made at the June 4 meeting were nothing short of atrocious and misleading. I object to the reference to the naysayers as “residents of Middlefield.” Yes, they are residents, but they don’t tell the whole story. They are also very active members of the Middlefield Democratic Party and most of them are members of the Democratic Town Committee.  These people do NOT represent all the residents of Middlefield.

I also wondered why, at this meeting, it was okay for Selectmen Burgess and Brayshaw to speak in response to questions or comments, but Selectman Bailey did not have the same right. I’m referring to the two articles I’ve read on the subject.

Again, I ask all Middlefield and Rockfall residents to attend public hearings on this vital subject and then make up your own mind. The future of our town depends on you knowing the facts and deciding how to help Powder Ridge survive. 


Barbara S. Rowe


Rob June 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Very well said Barbara. It is unfortunate that such an important part of Middlefield is getting used as a stage for some to speak out against Mr. Brayshaw. I sure hope that the residents of Middlefield listen to your words, take your advise, and attend meetings. They need to know the truth, as you said, there is plenty of misleading information getting distributed out there. I read in a comment that someone used the words "silent majority" and I thought that it was a great way to describe the residents that are getting misrepresented by so few. Thank you
Mickey June 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I can only hope that more of the majority can show up at these meetings and shut down those loud mouthed political opponents. But I am afraid that Sean Hayes is getting the message- Don't bother trying to get something done in MIddlefield- Absolutely shameful what that group has done.
Ellen Waff June 12, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I would hope that more people come to meetings, and “make up their own mind”. The problem is not “loud mouthed political opponents” but lack of participation in local government. We ARE the government, lest you forget....all of us.
sue June 12, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The Town is in a pickle, we have no generators for the Town Hall or the firehouse, we need a weed control program for the lake, repairs around town, the money saved for a new fire truck has been used for other expenses, no reverse 911 system, instead of arguing, we need to come together and find a solution for Powder Ridge that does not include losing money on the deal,we need to be proactive and call for a public forum to get everybody's ideas on the table,many mistakes have been made into the selling, the location, the reputation etc make this prime real estate and as a ski area it could be a goldmine, the selling price has been way too low from the beginning , the marketing was unprofessional, no letters on Town Stationary were sent out to prospective buyers, hence it looked like heresay that it was for sale, we may have lost good prospects and to top it off the buildings were left unprotected and have been damaged, we want skiing , but not at a huge financial loss to the town, our taxes are already sky high , we need creative thinking ,get all of our options on the table and take another vote,
Rob June 12, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Sue, I am curious if you are the same Sue that recommended that we keep Powder Ridge, open the pool, rebuild some of the buildings to use for recreation. Maybe not, all of these ideas just confuse me because there are so many out there. The fact is that Powder Ridge is in such disrepair that there really aren't many options left. Think about the cost of keeping it, as so many pointed out at the P&Z meeting, it needs a septic system, building removal, ski lift, tower removal. I agree that the town needs to invest money in some other areas in town. Powder Ridge is not the "cash cow" that some of you think it is. At this point it is no longer an asset, it is a dangerous area that continues to rapidly deteriorate. The buildings have been vacant for so long that prolonging this sale will certainly do nothing other than reduce the value. I think that as a town, we should do all we can to help Mr. Hayes, and anyone else that wants to bring business to Middlefield.
sue June 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Again why are you so argumentative? I am just putting possibilities out there, which unfortunately the people in charge aren't thinking -out of the box- however,in a friendly , respectful way, I totally disagree with you that Powder Ridge is not an asset , that makes no sense at all, Powder Ridge is the biggest , most expensive deal we have ever had, it is a huge asset .just go and try to buy a huge amount of acres like that in Ct and what would you pay? One building lot is 150,000, It may be that you are being sold a story based on 1/2 truths.
Mickey June 12, 2012 at 08:25 PM
One building lot is $150,000.. Sue, there are NO building lots on that property- NO development rights- NO one wants it without the right to do something on it. And clearly, our residents will NOT let that happen- Period. Commercially WORTHLESS property- Rob is exactly correct that it is become a bigger liability every day.
Rob June 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Sue, my intention is not to argue. I'm just trying to figure out where you're coming from. In one comment you are upset because we are not keeping it and making some type of community center for the public, and in the other comment, you are listing all of the things that the town can do with the profits from the sale. Don't you think if this land was really so attractive that people would be beating down the door at the town hall? It didn't happen, even when the buildings and equipment were in good condition, it didn't happen. Again, I'm not trying to argue with anyone. I just think that some of the arguments about Powder Ridge are a little bit misleading, and politically motivated. I just want Powder Ridge to remain along with the rest of the 9-1 voting residents. We voted to pay what we paid in an effort to keep Powder Ridge a ski area ( which is what Mr. Hayes is going to do) and to remove all development rights as Mickey pointed out, totally reduces the value of the land.
Brigid June 13, 2012 at 01:42 AM
All this fighting is going to tank the project. The ski area has been dormant for way too many years. Nearly a generation of local kids will never have fond memories of this once vibrant ski area. Enough already. You are biting off your noses to spite your faces. You are Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Will the non-politically motivated people please show up at the meetings?
sue June 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
The Powder Ridge Property is beautiful, that makes it valuable, not worthless, obviously you all feel the same way or you wouldn't be having this conversation, whoever restores Powder Ridge has the right to build some houses , Mr Zemel lived in the apartment building, his son built the house that Mr Leavitt lives in .For the price we are currently offering Powder Ridge , the buyer not only gets an established, well known business but land and permission to build houses, the land to build the houses alone is worth much more than what we are selling it for, if the skiing fails ,the houses can become a private ,gated community in the current wording of the DECD grant from the state, if the skiing fails , the Town is liable to pay back the 1/2 million dollars, At a BOS meeting Mr Brayshaw said that ruling has changed and he would give out the new documentation supporting what he said , to this date no-one has been contacted or received it,there are people who are interested in Powder Ridge but I feel that this is too big of a deal - too time consuming for one person- the 1st selectman - to handle and run the town as well, he doesn't have the time to meet with all the interested parties, That is why I am suggesting either a profession consultant which should remove politics , or a public forum.
Fed Up June 13, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Because most of what you said makes absolutely no sense at all, I am only going to comment on one thing.... "For the price we are currently offering Powder Ridge , the buyer not only gets an established, well known business" Are you serious? An established, well known business? Holy cow! What Fairy Tail land are you living in? You obviously haven't seen Powder Ridge ( if you want to call it that) in a long time. OK, one more thing, "Powder Ridge is beautiful" How does that make it worth anything?
sue June 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
What I meant is that it has huge name recognition all over New England , which needless to say will have a very positive effect on business which is ultimately worth money, Don't you think there will be a lot of news coverage when the work starts? Don't you think people all over will know exactly what& where they are talking about ?Unfortunately we are facing a very difficult thing to get everyone to agree on this which again is why I feel to take the politics out of it would be to get a consultant who can actually have the time to field all the calls and assess all the potential buyers and give the 1st selectman the time he needs to run the town, you even said yourself that you feel the people on Powder Hill Road don't really want anything and you told Sean to run - I call that very negative to any deal and certainly not a good solution for the town, what is it that you would like to see - it seems that you don't want Brownstone, what would you like?
Mickey June 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
"the buyer not only gets an established, well known business but land and permission to build houses," How many times do you need to be told that NO ONE who buys this property will be allowed to build houses. The houses that are currently allowed must ONLY be for use by personnel involved in the skiing business. You REALLY need to listen to the facts- not the rantings of the crazies. THE FACT is, NO ONE else is interested- otherwise they would be making themselves known. And downhill skiing, on a hill such as Powder Hill is just not going to be lucrative. 40 years ago, that was the coolest skiing there was- it just is not any more- its not. And for residents of this town to insist they want it back is like insisting that whoever bought the gas station must continue to provide leaded gasoline at 52 cents a gallon - Because that is what we had, and that is what we want. Well too darn bad. Sean Hayes can make this a wonderful success- but it will not be just like Powder Hill of 40 years ago. You may not have noticed- time has marched on, things have changed. And as far as having Powder Ridge with a "huge" name recognition- that's a bunch of BS- really- does anyone really believe that? If it did, people would be down here making offers- and they simply are not. And I think the town should not be spending more money on consultants- I can pay anyone anything I want to hear.
Cindy June 14, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I agree with Mickey and Rob. Appraisers have said the land is worth exactly what Sean will be paying for it. It is not worth more than that because it cannot be developed into housing. It cannot be divided up into $150,000 1 acre lots as you suggest. If you honestly think that you are truly ignorant. And there are not potential buyers knocking down our door to buy it. The town has done nationwide searches to find ski operators to no avail. Some said they would not take it if it were free! Professional consultants? Public forums? More time? We have been at this for 6 years! You really think there is a better deal out there? That is insane! We did not vote 10-1 on this as a town to make money. We voted 10-1 to bring skiing back to Middlefield and to have a successful business in town which will generate tax dollars, jobs, and help other local businesses. It is a win-win for everyone. Sean Hayes has incredible vision for this property to make it successful. Stop trying to sabotage the deal with all of your negativity and delay tactics and politics and get on board with supporting this.
sue June 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I am not against Sean Hayes but I feel that he is not paying a fair price , our tax assessor said verbally, not in an official document that Powder Ridge was worth much less than the professional written assessments done in the past, I never said it would be developed into a lot of houses, he can't afford a fair price, but he can afford to build 4 houses, which is what Mr Brayshaw said at the last BOS meeting that he wants to build 4 houses right away, Mr Bailey said because there are no building lots they won't be able to get a bank mortgage and will have to pay cash for the houses - so where's the cash coming from ? Are the investors the ones who want the houses? Are they employees or key personnel?All we keep hearing at BOS meetings is how difficult the skiing business is now ,only a 3 month business , etc but if he were to make one slope with "artificial " snow with a jump he would have 4 season free-form skiing which would be very lucrative , Mr Hayes said he was going to use some artificial snow at the very first meeting , so he wouldn't need water from the lake, the town voted to spend 2.8 mil to buy Powder Ridge and we also forgave the $400,000 owed in back taxes by Mr Leavitt which Middlefield Holdings inherited that bill and we have paid a lot for legal fees etc,Because of this I want a deal as much as you do with one difference, I want a fair price, we need things in town, and there are other people interested , Mr Brayshaw said so himself,


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