CAMDEN, Maine — Cost overruns in a planned $6.5 million upgrade of the Camden Snow Bowl have reached $500,000, according to the general manager of the facility.
Landon Fake said Wednesday the town is looking at cutting back on some of the work, and the Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Foundation has agreed to try to raise more money to help offset the unexpected costs.
The project was given overwhelming approval by voters in November, 1,124-239, to borrow up to $2 million to match $4.5 million raised privately for the major upgrade. The project has been nearly eight years in the making.
The general manager said one of the major reasons for the cost overruns involves lighting. Fake said the organization budgeted $120,000 for lighting based on estimates from contractors five years ago. The actual cost, however, has reached $400,000, he said.
In addition, Fake said the cost of engineering for the project is $100,000 over original estimates because of unexpected erosion problems that required engineering solutions. He said the review by the town planning board also necessitated more meetings and more changes than expected.
Fake said the project remains on track, and the Snow Bowl is scheduled to open Dec. 20.
The general manager said one of the parts of the project that will be postponed is the rerouting of the cross-country trail. He said the facility also is considering whether to delay or pare down other work.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection became involved in the project after heavy rains in June caused silt from land that had been cleared on the mountain to flow into Hosmer Pond.
Fake said the erosion problem was largely corrected by planting grass, which has since grown. Barring a hurricane that dumps 4 to 5 inches of rain, he said, there should be no additional erosion problems.
The Maine DEP has told local officials it expects to present a proposed consent decree about the erosion to the town by the end of the year. Fake said he does not know whether that will include a financial penalty.
Fake told the Select Board Tuesday night he did not know whether it would be worth it to try to hold the logging company that cleared the land responsible for some of the added costs.
Town Manager Patricia Finnigan reminded the board at the meeting that the project was very complex.