Traverse City Record-Eagle

Latest News - Mobile

July 23, 2013

Commissioners commit to funding of Hickory Hills

TRAVERSE CITY — The money-losing Hickory Hills Ski Area appears safe from the budget ax for the next few years.

A majority of city commissioners said they favored a proposal to do a long-range study and master plan for the park and are willing to fund half of the estimated $32,000 cost. Commissioners said they hope the plan will reduce the cost of the park to city taxpayers but recognize it will likely never hit self-sufficiency.

"If we want to do grants and lower our costs, we have to do this study," said commissioner Mary Ann Moore. "To let it (close) would be a really big mistake."

The ski hill runs at an average $100,000 annual loss and commissioners had previously threatened to cut off funding after this ski season. Now a majority pledged to continue funding operations while the master plan is studied and implemented over three to 10 years.

The master plan for the park will look at more fully utilizing the park assets year-round, its management structure, financial sustainability, and possible future ski-hill developments.

Several supporters spoke in favor of continued operation of Hickory Hills as an important recreational opportunity for youth in the winter, including Ed Ness, president and CEO of Munson Healthcare.

Ness also said the ski hill is a quality of life indicator that helps Munson recruit professional talent.

Commissioners Mike Gillman and Barbara Budros indicated they may vote for the study when it comes back before the commission on Aug. 5 but aren't in favor of the city continuing to subsidize the park when just 38 percent of Hickory Hills users are city residents.

"The city is constantly being called upon to subsidize the quality of life of our neighbors," Gillman said. "I think we are being asked to pay too much for our share of use."

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl