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Laurel Mountain ski resort plans approved

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 12, 2014 9:01 p.m

Renovations of the ski facilities at Laurel Mountain State Park can move forward.

At the Ligonier Township supervisors meeting on Monday, the board unanimously voted to approve the state’s final plan to restore the resort. The approval is contingent on the state’s application for a grading permit from the township zoning department.

“I’m excited because I’m a skier,” chairman Paul Knupp said. “It will promote Ligonier Valley and bring tourism into the area, so I’m in favor 100 percent.”

Last year, Knupp cited getting the resort reopened as one of his goals for 2014.

A representative for the park or the project was not present at the meeting.

The current plan, which architect Cherie H. Moshier of Moshier Studio in Pittsburgh and engineer Keith Gindlesperger of H.F. Lenz Co. in Johnstown described to the planning commission last month, includes replacing a ski lift, improving snowmaking capabilities and upgrading the electrical facilities. A previously included snowtubing park and parking lot are no longer part of the project. Gindlesperger said at that meeting that the state hopes to get the project out to bid in January to have the slopes reopened for fall 2015.

Township manager Terry Carcella explained the updates to the plan should be considered revisions since the supervisors had originally approved the project in 2011.

Supervisors Tim Komar and Scott Matson said they believe reopening the resort will be good for the community.

“From where I live I can see the lights on the slopes when they’re lit up,” Komar said. “I think it will be great for the community. Anything that we can bring people in to do and helps support the community is a plus.”

The 84-acre resort, located within the 500-plus-acre park, has been closed since 2005.

In other business, the supervisors approved a request from Coal Loaders Inc. to reclaim the land by a collapsed mine shaft near Tosh Road on a private property. The company, which is currently working on a land reclamation project at the site, asked permission to extend its permit line to fix the issue.

“It is a hazard,” Carcella said. “It does need to be cleaned up.”

The local recycling program, operated voluntarily by the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, is in danger of closing due to a lack of funding. Carcella said he recently met with the association and the state Department of Environmental Protection to discuss options for the program.

“Recycling is in bad shape in most parts of the state as far the dollars and places to take it,” he said. “It’s getting very expensive.”

Carcella is looking into obtaining a grant for a study and seeing if the township can partner with other recycling programs in the region.

“We need to expand this and look into this a little bit deeper,” he said. “I want to make you aware that this is a critical state right now for recycling in the township. I don’t want to wait until the last minute when the program ends and there are no funds. I want to let you know way ahead of time we need to address this and look into it.”

The board approved expanding a contract with the EADS Group to include more time for review of the zoning ordinance, which is being revised, and assistance in other areas of planning. Additionally, the board approved a contract with the Cohen Municipal Planning Consultants for help in the zoning office on an as-needed basis.

The next meeting will be held 7 p.m. Dec. 9.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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