ORDA to Take Control of Belleayre

Management of Belleayre alpine ski area in New York’s Catskill Mountains is slated to transfer from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) when New York’s state budget is approved.

Last year, the SAGE Commission, organized by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, recommended the transfer as a cost savings move.  When Cuomo included the transfer in his initial budget, the NY Assembly rejected the proposal.  However, the NY Senate did include funding, along with wording in a bill stipulating that ORDA would operate Belleayre in a manner comparable to Whiteface and Gore.

In addition to a larger appropriation for operations, the state earmarked $5 million for capital improvements to ORDA.  According to NY Division of Budget spokesman Morris Peters, $1 million of that money is slated for improvements at Belleayre.

“ORDA has the experience to manage this kind of facility,” Peters said.  “We’re excited to align skill sets in a way to enhance tourism.”  Peters added that Belleayre employees would retain their salary structure and civil service protections and benefits.

However, when asked directly about budgeting for improvements to Mount van Hoevenberg’s aging physical plant, Peters replied, “It’s premature to talk about it.”

The budget language requires an agreement between the DEC and Belleayre.  Thirty days after an agreement is reached, the transfer to ORDA would take place.  At present, the budget is expected to be enacted on time.