NORTH CREEK - In an effort to ensure the Gore Mountain "Interconnect Lift" is not only installed this spring but also operated during the 2009-10 ski season, the town of Johnsburg is planning to lobby the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
"ORDA has committed to buy the lift, in fact its delivery is pending right now, but they have not committed to operate it," Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed said during the Feb. 24 town board meeting.
Goodspeed is concerned with a last-minute decision by ORDA to purchase the lift with a caveat to not operate it until an operational budget line is in place.
The operation of the lift is the last key component that will connect Gore Mountain to the Ski Bowl Park area of North Creek. Its completion is widely viewed as a future economic boon to the community as visitors will be skiing to the edge of the town for the first time in decades.
At a recent "economic meeting" held at the Copperfield Inn with local businesses, state government representatives, ORDA and banking officials present, Goodspeed expressed concerns over the future of Johnsburg if the project did not move forward as intended.
"I wanted ORDA to know how important this is to our community and to know that we support that endeavor," he said.
In an effort to publicly support the lift's operation, Goodspeed moved his plan to lobby ORDA through a joint marketing campaign with Gore Mountain.
Citing ORDA's budget constraints, Goodspeed and the board agreed that a symbolic gesture such as this would pay big dividends.
An unexpended 2008 bed tax allotment of $8,000 will be applied toward the regional marketing partnership.
The effort will allow ORDA to move funds from their media allotment and put them toward the operation of the new lift system.
"Basically it's as symbolic as anything else, but it would help put some dollars into the operation fund and that lift in theory could be going into the ground as early as May or June of this year provided ORDA approves it during their April meeting," Goodspeed said.
"I think sending a message to them, along with a couple of other things that we can do, will help us at the April meeting," he concluded.
The board unanimously approved the measure to reallocate the bed tax funds. The money was previously allocated to emergency snow removal efforts on Main Street which proved unnecessary due to Warren County recently stepping-up their efforts.
As a final measure, the board also approved a formal letter to ORDA officials that details the region's support for the project. The letter will be presented to surrounding towns and municipalities in the hope that they will lend their support to the lobby effort.
In a parallel development, the town is expected to take possession of the "lift line" trail as part of an agreement with Front Street Development.
The town of Johnsburg will hold the deed to the parcel that is a critical component of the developer's future plans for the Ski Bowl Village project adjacent to Gore Mountain and Ski Bowl Park.