Governor Cuomo announced the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority has issued final approval for Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's plan for a major expansion and modernization of the facility. With this approval, Belleayre can now begin the planning process for improvement and modernization projects which are expected to provide a major boom to tourism in the Catskills and the region's economy. Today also marks the beginning of the 2015-2016 skiing season at the mountain.
"Belleayre Mountain offers some of the best winter recreation in the state and, with today's action, it's only going to get better," Governor Cuomo said. "Once these projects are completed, visitors to this majestic region hoping to hit the slopes will have an all new Belleayre Mountain to enjoy with friends and loved ones."
Belleayre's comprehensive redevelopment plan, also known as a Unit Management Plan, allows the mountain to not only modernize and expand, but increase public safety as well. It will now prioritize the plan's projects, which include:
- the acquisition of the lands of the former Highmount Ski Center;
- the installation of three new ski lifts and the replacement of two existing ski lifts;
- the addition of 16 new ski trails;
- the construction of up to three additional parking areas;
- the expansions of the existing Discovery and Sunset Lodges and modifications to existing pumphouses;
- the construction of the new Tomahawk Lodge, an Information Building, a salt storage building, an additional snowmaking pond, installation of snowmaking piping, and a lower pumphouse and compressor facility;
The modernization of the facilities will also include measures to improve energy conservation, such as replacing diesel powered snow guns with electric and incorporating green building principles into the new construction at the Discovery Lodge.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation has also approved and issued a permit for Belleayre's plan.
Senator James L. Seward said, "The Belleayre Mountain Ski Center UMP is a comprehensive strategy that will serve as a much-needed guide for future improvements. There are a number of exciting developments on the horizon and the UMP will help facilitate economic growth while ensuring environmental protection measures and other concerns are appropriately addressed."
Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Ted Blazer said, "This is a sound plan which was carefully and deliberately developed to ensure optimum year-round use and enjoyment of these facilities while providing economic and social benefits the region. The plan minimizes the financial burden on state and local government by maximizing revenue opportunities. We’re excited about the world-class transformation of Belleayre into one of the Northeast’s premier winter recreation destinations."
Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Eisel said, "This is great news for Delaware County and the long awaited (16 years) permits for the Belleayre Resort project. It will certainly create jobs for our residents and the spinoff will help enhance our small businesses. In these tough economic times this approval will expose more tourists to the Catskill Mountains and all of our towns and communities in the region fully support this venture."
Rob Stanley Town of Shandaken Supervisor said, "We are pleased to see progress on the BMSC UMP. Belleayre Mountain is integral to our rural economy here in the central Catskills. Any expansion of recreational offerings is welcomed. As an avid and frequent skier at Belleayre Mountain I'm thrilled for me and my fellow skiers and riders at the possibility increasing the variety of terrain this plan offers us."
About Olympic Regional Development Authority
Established by the New York State legislature on July 3, 1981, ORDA was given the mandate to manage and promote the sports facilities used to host the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. New York State had contributed $44 million to the construction and operation of the 1980 Olympic facilities while the Federal Government and the organizing committee provided an additional $150 million investment. State and local government cooperatively created a long term solution to protect the public's investment in the Lake Placid Olympic facilities through the establishment of ORDA. In 1984 Gore Mountain joined the ORDA ranks. Most recently in 2012, Belleayre Mountain in the Catskill State Park has come under ORDA's auspices.