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Holiday Valley expansion approved

An expansion project at Holiday Valley Ski Resort will go forward, but a new snowmaking reservoir uphill from the Tannenbaum Lodge on Fish Hill will not be part of the plan.

The Ellicottville resort, owned by Win-Sum Ski Corp., was in line for Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency's assistance to finance $2.35 million in improvements. But in late August, Win-Sum asked that the $800,000 reservoir segment of the upgrades be removed from the plans. The expansion project's estimated cost, presented in May to the IDA Board of Directors, did not change.

The board met Tuesday to approve final documents, and ruled that the additional crowds expected from the expansion will pose no significant environmental impact. An inducement resolution for sales tax and other financial benefits was approved unanimously by the five members of the seven-member board present at the meeting.

According to IDA documents, Win-Sum withdrew the plans for the snowmaking reservoir when the state Department of Environmental Conservation determined the project could result in environmental problems.

The reservoir was to be built high above the ski area and Tannenbaum Lodge, in the Town of Mansfield. The reservoir, which is expected to be proposed again at a later date, would contain pumped creek water and double the resort's snowmaking capacity.

David Trathen, Win-Sum's vice president of finance, has noted the resort pays for its improvements and receives only a sales-tax exemption. He added the resort adds to the work force and adds to the county's sales tax revenues.

The Win-Sum application states Holiday Valley expects to receive $165,000 in sales tax exemptions and its $640,000 annual state sales tax payments will increase to $675,000 as a result of the expansion. About $25,000 to $50,000 in additional sales and occupancy taxes is estimated.

The agency passed a resolution stating there would be no adverse environmental impact resulting from the project, which includes widening of some slopes, installation of new lighting and purchase of a new grooming machine, repairs and remodeling in the Clubhouse Chalet, upgrades in lodging and expansion of the pool.

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