Nearly two years after it was first announced, the town of Middlefield has received a $500,000 grant from the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) that will help in the effort to restore Powder Ridge ski area.
“This is the final milestone in the economic viability of restoring the property," said First Selectman Jon Brayshaw, who was joined Friday by Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh to make the announcement.
“It has been a long and arduous journey and Middlefield is committed to the restoration of Powder Ridge as a useable ski area. It is an enterprise that has been around for 50 years and attracted 100,000 visitors each ski season. It is a unique part of Middlesex County and Middlefield itself," Brayshaw added, thanking McHugh and several members of the DECD.
In January 2010, then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell stood at the bottom of Powder Ridge on a snowy January day to announce that the state would provide the half-million dollar grant to get the ski area back up and running.
At the time, the town was in negotiations to sell the property to Snow Time Inc. for between $2 - $3 million.
Earlier this year Middlefield of Powder Ridge to Alpine Ridge LLC, of Pennsylvania, for $1 million.
The grant will help pay for structural improvements and utility upgrades at Powder Ridge, in addition to the $2 million dollars Alpine is required to invest in the property.
"This is great news. All those individuals involved in the securing of the grant are to be commended," Dennis Abplanalp, Alpine's president, said Friday.
The deal, which also requires Alpine to offer downhill skiing by the end of 2013, is expected to be finalized soon.
"Powder Ridge has been and will soon once again become one of the state's prominent recreational features," Brayshaw said. "Its revival will bring great pride to the town."