To the Editor,
The other day I learned that Crossroad Ventures, the developers that have been proposing to build a golf course on a mountainside for about 15 years, are now proposing that the State owned Belleayre center purchase the former Highmount ski area, which Crossroads owns. The proposal envisions the Belleayre ski center improve lifts and trails on Highmount (at tax payers' expense), and the developers would construct additional ski lodges and housing facilities on their adjacent property. In effect, the development would enjoy easy access to the slopes on our dime, while divesting itself of property that doesn't figure into their resort footprint.
Needless to say, the asking price for the Highmount property is vastly more than the price paid by Crossroads for the long-neglected parcel a few years ago.
This scheme is really another overreach on Crossroads Ventures' part! First they tried to sell us a golf course of enormous size in the middle of the watershed. Now we are asked to use state resources to make room for an oversized ski center.The existing Belleayre manages as best it can, juggling good ski winters with bad. The vagaries of the industry do not merit an all-out expansion of the facility . Investment in improved existing lifts and trails as well as some additional expert trails on the eastern side of the center (as proposed in alternative plans) would make it more attractive at a far smaller cost and without acquiring additional acreage.
Crossroads Ventures has been making overblown claims about the benefits to the area their projects would provide. How about starting smaller, see what evolves. Why run the risk of misusing public funds and finding that the project is over ambitious or rejected by the golfing/skiing public.