April 24, 2018
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County officials, Squaw ski resort owner to meet

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

GREENVILLE, Maine — An offer for the Piscataquis County government to lease the Big Squaw Mountain ski area will be discussed during a meeting behind closed doors Wednesday between owner James Confalone and the Piscataquis County commissioners.

Commissioner Tom Lizotte, chairman of the board, said Monday that the meeting would be held in executive session at the mountain. The commissioners have been in contact with Confalone since he offered in August to lease the ski area to the county for $1 a year for 30 years, according to Lizotte. That offer was contingent on the commissioners acting on the offer within 60 days.

“We would like to see more economic development at the mountain and so would he, so we have that in common,” Lizotte said. He said the visit would include a tour of the resort and an update on the facilities. “We want to listen respectfully to what Mr. Confalone has to say.”

Confalone’s lease offer came earlier this year after county officials discussed whether to continue to plow the county-owned access road to the resort. The commissioners said they had heard people argue over the years that the business was not being operated consistently as a full-service ski resort and that the road should not be maintained. The commissioners did agree later to maintain the road.

Confalone told the Bangor Daily News in August that he had spent millions of dollars fixing up the resort property before the economy took a dive, and he was upset with the public criticism. It was then that he said, referring to the county commissioners, “If they feel they can do a better job, that this is not being run the way they would like, then I’m willing to lease the county the ski area, the lifts, the ski shop, all the equipment, and everything that’s there in the ski area.” The hotel and upper restaurant would be excluded from the lease, he said.

Lizotte said he doubted any action would be taken by the board Wednesday as a result of the meeting.

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