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ORDA lays out future plans, capital projects

July 1, 2014
By MATTHEW TURNER ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Two new members were present at the state Olympic Regional Development Authority quarterly board meeting Tuesday, June 24.

ORDA laid out its capital project plan for the year and talked about re-establishing the board's Lake Placid Community Advisory Council.

"I'd like to sincerely welcome Andy Lack and Joe Lamb, our two board members from the town of North Elba," ORDA board chairman Pat Barrett said.

Lack is chairman of Bloomberg Media Group, and Lamb is president of Lamb Lumber in Lake Placid and a 1972 Olympic ski jumper.

Barrett spoke highly of the pair of new board members, saying Lack is an internationally known businessman who "shares his love for the North Country" and that Lamb is a "highly successful local businessman with an interest in ORDA."

Lack and Lamb replaced two longtime ORDA board members, hotel owners, Serge Lussi and Ed Weibrecht of Lake Placid.

"I'd like to take this moment to thank Serge Lussi and Ed Weibrecht who have served this board for a number of years," Barrett said. "There esteemed leadership and dedication and influence will both extend beyond their terms here."

Barrett said he has asked Weibrecht, a friend and business partner, to informally be his special advisor "to give me advice on topics and stuff like that, and I'm sure I'll be doing the same with Serge Lussi."

Capital projects

ORDA President and CEO Ted Blazer reviewed the authority's planned capital projects for the upcoming season.

"This is the start of $9.4 million worth of capital projects taking place at our facilities this summer," Blazer said. "The whole key to this year's capital campaign was to do energy-efficient projects, revenue-enhancing projects and then some deferred capital maintenance."

Some of the highlights of the improvements include replacing an old ski lift at Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek with a new high-speed chairlift. Refurbishments to the ramps to the pool house at the Lake Placid ski jumps will also be made, and the authority plans to fix a leaky roof at the Olympic Center arena complex in Lake Placid.

There will also be some other improvements made to the Olympic Center, including replacing the chillers at the ice rinks and purchasing a rink cover that will save energy.

"It's the life blood certainly of the three rinks here, and also the electrical gear, we had to get a lot of that fixed up," Blazer said of the chiller.

Improvements will be made to Wilmington Trail on the Lookout Mountain section of Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington. Overall trail improvements are "ongoing and continuing," Blazer said.

"More blasting will occur up there so we can widen that section of the trail," he said.

At the Olympic Jumping Complex, ORDA will build a deck that will be added to the upper level.

"A lot of the groups coming in, they're looking to have an excursion, and one of the first places they talk about is the Olympic Jumping Complex and having a show there, so this will help us," Blazer said.

The Olympic Center's electronic information board will be refurbished. ORDA also purchased two snow cats for Gore.

At Whiteface, ORDA recently launched Adventure Zone, a playground for children. Blazer said this would hopefully help increase revenue by keeping people at the ORDA venue longer, spending more money. Cloudspin Lounge "would get a facelift."

ORDA will continue to replace older snowmaking guns, which saves money and time, Blazer said.

"The key to snowmaking at all of our facilities is the ability to run high-efficiency snowmaking guns," he said.

Community advisory council

ORDA's Community Advisory Council consists of members of the community in the areas where ORDA has venues, from Lake Placid, Wilmington, North Creek and the Catskills. The advisory council, in 2012, increased from 15 to 19 members when the authority began to manage the Belleayre Ski Center in the Catskills.

"The chairman asked that I work with Joe Lamb to re-establish the Lake Placid Community Advisory Council, created to assist with the procurement of national and international sporting events," Blazer said.

The ORDA board members agreed the idea of reinvigorating the advisory council was a good idea and also said suggested Wilmington community members should be added to the board.

"Our goal moving forward is to maximize the use of our venues, create new revenue streams, evaluate the organization to make it more effective and efficient, promote and market all facilities, track and predict expenses, search for new profitable events and control existing ones," Blazer added.



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