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ORDA to take over Belleayre


This is Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas 

Tuesday's state budget deal calls for the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center to be taken over by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which also operates New York’s Gore Mountain and Whiteface ski areas.

Officials note the shift entails maintaining Belleayre's status as a year-round tourist destination.

The takeover includes seating one ORDA Board Member each for Ulster and Delaware Counties, establishing a local ORDA office at Belleayre, and a requirement that one of two ORDA Vice-Chairs be a resident of Ulster or Delaware Counties - the individual to be chosen by the recommendation of the Town Boards of the Towns of Middletown and Shandaken.

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Republican State Senator John Bonacic were active in the push to move control of Bellayre to ORDA. Both supported the Cuomo budget plan: they were not available for comment but Bonacic said in a prepared statement that he was "pleased we were able to work with the governor to better ensure a strong future for Belleayre."

Coalition to Save Belleayre Chairman Joseph Kelly believes the 2011 floods made an impression on Governor Cuomo that resulted in the management shift that now puts "three great ski areas" together

Kelly pointed out that the last few years have been difficult for Belleayre under the Department of Environmental Conservation. He expects the ORDA affiliation will result in additional job opportunities at Belleayre.

The DEC did not return calls for comment in time for broadcast.