Some friend and i went to session late season when this escapade was going down and we work there so we were playing with our park crew paint cans. So we left this lil' bit of paint there.
Swain buyer in the wings?
Swain, N.Y. -
day after a meeting at the Town of Grove discussing local and regional
support for Swain Resort, the Sawyers Group, USA, LLC. announced it
will be holding a 3 p.m. press conference at the Allegany County
Industrial Development Crossroads Building in Belmont to make an
announcement regarding Swain.
What appears to be the announcement of a pending purchase of the
facility will cap a roller-coaster week for Swain residents, who met
Tuesday night to talk about the future.
“We fell like there is some information that needed to get across ...
Obviously one of the concerns is that we hope we have a buyer for Swain
ski center. We need to get the message out to potential buyers that we
are here to support businesses in this town,” said Grove town
Supervisor Mike Johnsen of the support he says the area has given to
Swain Resort during the past decade.
“There are a lot of good things that we think the county and the town
has done to try to support Swain ski center over the years,” he said.
Johnsen produced a fact sheet with seven different points that
maintains Swain has received support from the community and county.
The first pointes out that the Allegany County Industrial Development
Agency brokered a deal for Swain that effectively allowed it to pay no
property taxes after a previous IDA plan was terminated by Swain owners.
Allegany County IDA Director John Foels attended the meeting and said
Swain benefitted from $539,219 in tax reimbursements from entering into
a Empire Zone in 2003. Johnsen said additional land was provided in the
zone for the expansion of the business, but Swain never took advantage.
Foels said Swain will be entering its last year of the Empire Zone next
year and that a new buyer will have to meet with the IDA to decide what
type of deal is best for their needs.
“I never do the same deal twice,” said Foels.
Johnsen later pointed out that Swain receives 37 percent of all Allegany County tourism dollars to promote the ski center.
“Swain does receive all of the marketing dollars for skiing and winter
activities in our region,” said Sherry Grugel, Greater Allegany County
Chamber of Commerce director of tourism. She said those funds do not
include promotion in the regional tourism brochure.
Johnsen acknowledged there has been opposition to owner Phil Saunders
and the purchase of the town hall, but said it was a minority of
residents. He claimed resentment from an IDA deal that raised taxes
more than 9 percent in 2000 and a lawsuit with the town over Swain’s
2000-01 tax assessment created bad blood between the business and some
Among Johnsen’s other examples of support were the paving of Mill
Street to accommodate ski center traffic, special effort by the highway
superintendent to keep access roads clear for skiers and sustaining the
cost of ambulance service for injured skiers.
“We pay contractually to Canaseraga to provide that service. If you go
back and calculate out what it costs the town to pick up injured skiers
we estimate that the town foots the bill for $7,000 annually to pick up
injured skiers,” said Johnsen. After this point he said every $3,000 of
expenses in Grove represents a 1 percent tax increase and that paying
for that the bill represents an investment in the ski center.
Eric Stearns, general manager of Swain Resort, said after the meeting
he disagreed with how high the figure was, but didn’t argue that it was
costly to the town.
Johnsen said Grove is billed over $200 per ambulance call.
Stearns announced last week that operation costs have been between $300,000 and $600,000 more than net revenue in recent years.
Towards the end of the meeting resident Steve Hooker, owner of The Oaks
and Green Acres trailer parks in Arkport, said he placed a viable
purchase offer for the resort. Foels said he is interested in meeting
with Hooker and gave him a business card.
Saunders, interviewed by phone prior to the meeting Tuesday, said he
has been contacted by several potential buyers and that he will try to
sell Swain, rather than liquidate equipment and supplies at the resort.
“I’m not trying to put a nail in the coffin of this town,” said
Saunders, adding, “If someone offered me $1.8 million to buy it and I
could make $2 million off liquidating, I’d make sure it had a new
Swain employs the equivalent of 85-90 full time employees with a $970,000 payroll. It has been in business since 1947.
An Aug. 15 sale deadline has been set by Saunders, if none are found
by then, 2009-10 refunds will be issued for everybody that has a season
pass or schools that have binding contracts.