Brownstone says it will put $3.5 mill. into it.
August 16, 2012|By SHAWN R. BEALS, firstname.lastname@example.org, The Hartford Courant
MIDDLEFIELD — — Residents voted overwhelmingly Thursday, 1,132 to 466, in favor of selling the former Powder Ridge ski slope to a Portland developer.
"I am absolutely pleased that so many people came out to voice their opinion," said Sean Hayes, managing director of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park. "We needed the town of Middlefield to say yes to Brownstone and they did."
The town will sell Powder Ridge to the Brownstone owners for $700,000, and Hayes has said his team plans to invest $3.5 million in the property and restore skiing, snowboarding and snow-tubing there by the end of 2013.
After finding out that residents had approved the sale, Hayes, his family and friends donned T-shirts with the slogan, "The Resurrection Begins," printed across the back.
"We're going to begin to restore Powder Ridge to what it was," Hayes said.
First Selectman Jon Brayshaw said he was relieved that residents approved the deal. He said the town will prepare for a closing that should be held in the next three to four weeks.
"I can't wait to see the first person go down the ski slope," Brayshaw said. "I want to be there. Maybe what I'll do is be that first person."
Compared with past proposed deals to sell the ski mountain, which fell through, the plan that passed Thursday had a large number of detractors. Many said the sale would not be fair to the town, and said the price wasn't high enough.
"It has bothered me tremendously, this discord the last three or four months," Brayshaw said. He said the vote showed that a majority of residents want to see "a big part of our history" restored.
Craig Wallett, who lives on Powder Hill Road next to the ski area, said after voting Thursday that the Brownstone owners have been successful in Portland and thinks they can rebuild Powder Ridge.
"To me, it's a home run to just get that place up and running again," Wallett said. "We all went there when we were kids. A lot of us worked there. Sure, no deal is perfect, but they need to get this guy up and running."
Under the sales agreement, the new owners will pay the town $100,000 at the closing, and will pay six interest-free yearly installments of $100,000. The town will retain a 20-acre portion of Powder Ridge.
Powder Ridge had been used as a ski resort for 47 years until it closed in 2007. The town bought the 246-acre property for $2.55 million in 2008 after it went into foreclosure.