Mar 24, 2010 — The state Senate is proposing to eliminate more than $6 million in subsidies for the Olympic Regional Development Authority. ORDA operates two ski mountains in the Adirondacks, in Wilmington and North Creek. The state agency also operates the Olympic venues in Lake Placid.
ORDA Chairman Joe Martens told WNBZ radio that the proposed cuts would be devastating. "ORDA's annual state subsidy is $6-7 million. It's been going down for the last couple years," he said. "If that cut stays intact, we'd have to close all of the venues because none of the venues expect Whiteface and Gore make money. But what they do is they bring in hundreds of events every year that fills to hotel rooms and restaurants."
If accepted, the legislative budget would eliminate 20% from ORDA's operating budget of $30 million. Local government leaders have been reacting with shock to the idea that state support for ORDA's operations might be zeroed out. An ORDA study in 2008 found that the Olympic-region venues sparked more than $300 million in tourism activity every year. Brian Mann spoke with Sterling Goodspeed, town supervisor in Johnsburg, which is home to ORDA's Gore Mountain ski area.