Thanks for the story, Scott. It is the best article yet on the current situation at Laurel.
JimK, don't read too much into the First Tracks article. There is no word from the DCNR about a lease agreement, no word from the Governor's office on a funding time line. I hope that if Laurel is to open this year it would be with all improvements in place.
I agree with Dave's opinion that if not for Buncher's interest we would not be here today but as he said, this type of thing goes on in business all the time. My concern is that Laurel be done right this time. It will be up to us to ensure that happens.
First and foremost is we must open or wallets and support with our dollars. Next we must insists that the State provides oversight so that a realist business plan guided by an expertly crafted master plan is in place. If $6.5M of tax payer money is in play this must be done right with a full commitment to success.
Laurel can be much more then a local ski area. If the scope is only to refurbish what is already there then Laurel will be doomed again. I hope the DCNR take a strong hand in planning for success and holds the eventual leaser's feet to the fire with strict time commitments and stiff financial penalties. If the State is to own all the asset's then there should be no debt to retire. The DCNR should not tolerate any half hearted attempt to operate Laurel and should not be complicit in limiting competition in the local winter sport industry.
If Seven Springs and Bob Nutting is serious about Laurel then I will lend my wholehearted support. If this is a transparent move to blunt competition and ultimately ruin Laurel then it is incumbent on all of us that have lobbied on Laurel's behalf to hold them accountable. Do not fall into the false mind set that this is private enterprise. It will be a publicly funded State Park facility and as such we will have the right to be heard.
Here's a link to an article by A.J.Panian from the tribune-Review: Laurel may get $6.5M