ASHLAND, Ore. — Mount Ashland is moving forward with its first improvements to the ski area in more than 15 years. After years of challenges now several city council members feel the Mount Ashland Association did not follow through with parts of the agreement.
The Ashland City Council meeting room was packed. The Mount Ashland Association came forward with its phase one plans. General Manager Kim Clark says they have $250,000 in the bank. That money will cover all of the restoration projects.
“There are four that need and will have to have helicopter use further down the road – the parking lot, the run widening and the re-contouring of sonnet – it covers all of those,” Kim Clark explained.
Several city council members, however, felt the spirit of the agreement for phase one, meant funds for the entire project, which is around 2.2 to 2.5 million dollars should be in the bank not just the partial amount.
“I know there were some semantics about some of the wording that’s in there, but we fell everything is met. If you read the language, it says these are the projects that could be generally accepted as phase one. What we actually decided to submit for was a piece of that,” Clark said.
Clark also said the construction is only on existing grounds.
“The key part to look at is that we’re not looking to do anything in the expansion area as it’s defined, which is where the new runs are and the lift,” said Clark.
Plus, he says Mt. Ashland is limited to the type of construction it can even begin by the forest service.
“All of the projects we’re looking at are all projects that were approved in the 2004 final is record of decision,” said Clark. “Then, reaffirmed in the 2011 decision, that was done, and these are all of these projects that have been studied, embedded out publicly.”
City council members filed a motion, deciding the city attorney and Mount Ashland would clarify the language in the agreement before construction begins – a decision concerned citizens like Eric Navickas also agreed was the right move.
“Hopefully Mount Ashland will be able to work with them and come up with an addendum to the agreement that clarifies that language and makes sure that they have to show financial backing for the entire expansion if they do,” Navickas said.
The first project, which is widening the ski runs will begin at the end of April. The construction for new parking lots will begin sometime in August or September. Mount Ashalnd expects that portion to take about a month.