Town of Camden to Request Federal Funds to Construct New Snow Bowl Lodge
The public and private funds allocated for construction were already spent on overruns at the ski area.
Thursday, May 25, 2017, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Facing at least a $2.7 million shortfall, the Town of Camden is now seeking $375,000 in Federal funds to help construct a new lodge and mountain bike trails.
Camden voters approved the $6.5 million Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Project in November of 2013, to be funded with a $2 million town bond and $4.5 million from the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Foundation. The terrain and lift phase of the project fell behind schedule, ran into environmental violations, and went dramatically over budget. By the end of the that phase, there were no remaining funds for the $2.6 million lodge.
Camden's town manager and the Snow Bowl's general manager both resigned this winter due to issues involving the ski area. As a result of the Snow Bowl's financial problems, the town was forced to borrow $2.5 million to cover its cash fund shortfall.
Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Foundation recently cut a check for roughly $371,000, but is withholding further funds from the town until a detailed project expense report is provided. According to a recent audit conducted by RHR Smith & Company, the Town of Camden "paid approximately $750,000 in project expenses beyond the amount approved by the voters," not including the $2.6 million budgeted lodge project. The audit also uncovered questionable accounting practices.
The town is applying for a $250,000 grant from the Federally funded Northern Border Regional Commission to help construct the now $2.7 million lodge. The Northern Border Regional Commission recently provided a $240,000 grant for the new Burke T-Bar.
In addition, the town is applying for a $125,000 grant from the Federally funded Maine Recreational Trails Program for the construction of mountain biking trails at the area. The Snow Bowl recently came under fire when it was revealed at the former General Manager gave the green light to unapproved mountain bike trail construction.