Public hearing set for $2 million Snow Bowl bond
Camden — Residents will have the chance to weigh-in on a proposed $2 million bond for projects at the town-owned Snow Bowl during a public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 3.
A 2008 advisory vote authorized Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee to proceed with private fundraising of a $4.5 million match for a capital improvement project to include relocation of an existing chairlift, addition of a new chairlift and snow-making equipment and upgrading and expanding the lodge.
Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee member Rick Knowlton said while the $4.5 million match remains slightly below the goal, it is anticipated the funding will be in place by spring. He noted town funds may not be expended without the entire $4.5 million in private donations secured.
"The momentum is there, the strategy is there [to raise the remaining $500,000]," he said.
Knowlton explained the committee hopes to have the $2 million bond issued in the spring so construction can begin in 2014. Projects proposed for 2014 include improvements to the hill, chairlifts and snowmaking. Reconstruction of the lodge is planned for 2015, he said.
Asked about potential cost overruns — estimates in hand are nearly two years old — Knowlton said "there is wiggle room" in several areas of the budget for the project. He emphasized voter approval in the spring will allow for confirmation of estimates during the winter, as well as securing time commitments from specialty installers, such as those who install chairlifts. Of more concern than construction costs of the lodge are costs for hill improvements, Knowlton said, noting setting chairlift polls with a helicopter costs approximately $50,000 per day.
"The committee has a lot of comfort with the numbers," he said. "We're still comfortable for the $6.5 [million] that we can accomplish everything we want."
Should the issue be on the ballot in November, there will be a notation of the town's current indebtedness, Knowlton said, adding the $2 million "will look huge" next to current debt.
"Our debt load right now is so small," he said.
It is estimated payments on the bond will be around $110,000 per year, Knowlton said.
All select board members praised the efforts of the committee, with Selectman Leonard Lookner referring to the fundraising task as "Herculean" and Selectman Don White calling the committee "tenacious."
Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(207) 236-8511 ext. 302
Stephanie has served as editor of Camden Herald since its return in April 2012.
Previously, she was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has worked a number of years in the newspaper business from southern Maine to Waldo County.
Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.
Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and two chickens.
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