Saturday, October 21, 2017

Poor Future if Resort isn’t Built – by Michael Foxman

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


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Note: This is a letter written by Michael Foxman, one of the developers of the Adirondack Club & Resort.

I have been reluctant to respond to Mr. Sheehan’s last letter [click here to read the full letter] because, after seven years, I am tired of reacting to baseless claims and imaginary dangers put forward by people who are paid to prevent economic development in the Park.

My partners and I have spent seven years and millions of dollars and used the most experienced professionals in the region to design the Adirondack Club to be eco-friendly, i.e., approvable. The project is entirely consistent with the Park land development plan. We have the support of the community and local government. We have persevered despite the fact that the preservationists have done everything they could to delay our progress and increase our costs in the hope we would go away.

What is noteworthy about the behavior of the preservationists is not what they have cost us. It is their callous disregard of the welfare of the residents of the community and of the Adirondack Park Agency Act. They entirely ignore, but for lip service and throwing an occasional bone, the property and other rights of the 130,000 permanent residents of the Park despite the fact that the act expressly states that the Park land development plan was designed “to recognize three complementary needs,” including the need of the “park’s permanent, seasonal and transient populations for growth and service areas, employment, and a strong economic base”.

That said, I submit that, at this point, the single most important thing your readers, the preservationists and government should consider is this: What will happen if we abandon our proposal or are denied a permit we can accept?

What other developer or investor will waste his money or time attempting anything significant in the Park if, despite overwhelming community support, a tourism and recreational project that will, without government investment or risk, reopen a locally critical ski area, increase the tax base, create hundreds of jobs on and off site and provide much needed customers for local businesses cannot get a permit in a highly developed area of high unemployment and economic collapse?

If there is no new economic development, businesses will continue to close because their customer base will continue to shrink, business people will lose their investments and savings, workers will lose their jobs, young people will continue to leave to find opportunities, others will leave because they will tire of driving hours to shop or get to work, people who try to sell their homes will not find buyers or will get prices too low to let them buy elsewhere, the schools will deteriorate, the tourist industry will die off because the service people on which it depends will be gone, more hotels will close, vacation home owners and prospective buyers will disappear because they will have no place to shop or dine, there will be no infrastructure and no labor pool, the construction industry (union and non-union) will wither, housing prices will drop, and the need for government assistance will increase but tax revenues will decrease.

If all that sounds too negative and overly dramatic, go to Tupper Lake and talk to the people who live and work there, count the empty stores and ask someone about the businesses that have closed or anything else I have written. I am embarrassed to admit that I spent a lifetime going to resorts and into stores and having someone smile and sell something to me, but I never really talked to the people behind the counter, asked or thought about their children or the quality of local schools, considered whether they could live decently on their salaries or wondered about their aspirations or job security. Like too many people on vacation or just passing through, I picked what I wanted, paid and barely even saw the person behind the counter, let alone considered his or her life.

Before your readers make judgments that will affect the lives of many of the 130,000 permanent residents of the Park, I ask them to think about all that is involved. There is a lot more at stake than I understood when I first saw Tupper Lake.

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