In this February 2019 file photo, young skiers hit the slopes on a beautiful day at Big Moose Mountain in Greenville. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The proposed redevelopment of a Pisctaquis County ski resort moved a step closer to becoming a reality when the Finance Authority of Maine approved up to $135 million in bond financing last week.

The project is expected to create about 380 full and part-time jobs in the Greenville area.

The funds through FAME will be used to finance the acquisition, rehabilitation, design of the proposed four-season resort located in Big Moose Township. It would replace the Big Squaw Mountain Ski Resort with new ski lifts, base lodge, hotel and restaurant, marina, condominiums and more at the site that has fallen into disrepair. (The name of the mountain where the resort is located was changed years ago to Big Moose Mountain, but not the resort name. “Squaw” is a derogatory term for Native American women.)

A new chairlift is expected to be installed this year and be ready for the 2021-22 ski season.

Developer Perry Williams of Spruce Head and Provident Resources Group of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are partnering on the project. Provident worked with Williams’ firm, Big Lake Development LLC, to obtain financing from FAME.

The plan has been endorsed by the Piscataquis County commissioners and on Tuesday they approved tax increment financing for the project, in which new value goes back into the resort.

“We are pleased to provide support for Provident’s project in Piscataquis County,” David Daigler, chair of the FAME board, said Tuesday in announcing the decision. “Plans for the re-birth of the now-dormant ski resort into a four-season recreation destination is promising news for the Greenville area, and we wish the developers the best of luck as they proceed with construction.”

In deciding to support the project, FAME’s Board of Directors determined that it will make a significant contribution to the economic growth of the state by investing millions of dollars into the construction of the facility, and significantly increasing employment in the region, both from a construction standpoint and ongoing operations.

Steve Hicks, chairman of Provident Resources Group Inc., said his group is grateful for FAME’s support.

“We are eager to get to work to revitalize this once-popular ski mountain and to expand area offerings year-round so as to help stimulate continued economic development in the Greenville area,” he said.

FAME acts as a conduit for borrowers to allow them to access favorable interest rates and to help stimulate the economy and create and retain Maine jobs. Because this project will involve a recreational enterprise, the bonds will be eligible for tax-exempt treatment under federal tax law.