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Johnsburg town board moves forward with Ski Bowl Park grant

Johnsburg Town Hall

Johnsburg Town Hall Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Tuesday, the board wrangled with the question of how to proceed with the project, what to include in the project, or whether the project should proceed at all.

Nessle and Ovitt made an impassioned presentation in an effort to get the project moving forward.

In place of a skateboard park, Ovitt, a former state forest ranger, shared a vision of a 3-kilometer “hardened single track” trail suitable for biking and hiking that would link the North Creek Train Depot, Town Hall and Ski Bowl Park and along the way intersect with several established hiking trails to provide a network linking the hamlet of North Creek with thousands of acres of pristine wilderness including Gore.

Jeff Palka, owner of The Gear Source cycling shop, told the board that such a trail would be the first of its kind in the Northeast and described the trail system as akin to those one might find at big ski resorts out west such as Telluride.

“Cyclers from all over would come here for that,” Palka said. “They could actually start right in town. It would be unique.”

Ovitt said the trail network would be ideal for Nordic skiing in the winter and would provide year-round benefit.

Town Board members seemed enthusiastic about the proposal. Yet there was one major issue to resolve. Councilman Arnold Stevens framed the issue succinctly.

“To me it’s a simple thing,” Stevens said. “We have a project. Do we have the money?”

Nessle told the board that the project was a “steal of a deal,” and explained that for a net final investment of about $38,000 and some sweat equity, the town could have improvements to the park worth three times that amount.

“To me it’s a no-brainer,” Nessle said and urged the board to find a way to pay for the project. About $25,000 has already been identified as available funding, Nessle reminded the board. She urged them to consider taking out a bond anticipation note (BAN) so that the town could front the full cost of the project. When the state reimbursed the town, the town could pay off the note.

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