- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

LIGONIER, Pa. (AP) - Renovation plans for a troubled southwestern Pennsylvania ski resort seem to be progressing after years of delays.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced Wednesday it will seek bids on two renovation contracts at the historic Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, the (Somerset) Daily American reported (https://bit.ly/1MhEeyh).

“We share everyone’s passion for Laurel Mountain and we are very excited to see the project moving forward,” said Alex Moser, director of marketing and communications for Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which owns much of Laurel Mountain’s infrastructure. “We are committed to working with the (state) to re-energize this great community asset. As always, we are fully dedicated to growing the Laurel Highlands region into one of the premier winter destinations on the East Coast.”

The first contract involves upgrades to the ski lift and trail lighting and is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million. The second calls for the demolition and rebuilding of a chairlift, improvements to snowmaking equipment, removing trees, and regrading ski trails. An engineer’s estimate was not provided in the bid information.

The Ligonier property was once part of the Rolling Rock Club, but was handed over to the state in 1962 by Richard King Mellon, the conservationist chairman of Mellon Bank. Skiers once rode to the top in horse-drawn sleighs, not chairlifts, at the former playground for the wealthy.

It had been closed for about a decade before 1998 when former owner George Mowl promised the state - which still owns the land today - he would rebuild the resort in exchange for a lease through at least 2033.

A bank foreclosed after that fell through, and Seven Springs stepped in to buy most of the resort’s non-land assets.

The state allocated $6.5 million to the project in 2009, though Laurel Mountain has been closed since 2005.

“It’s long overdue,” said Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, who’s received several letters from constituents complaining about the lack of progress. “I am very excited to see it moving.”


Information from: Daily American, https://www.dailyamerican.com

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