With the finish line nearly in sight for a refurbished Snow King master plan, a former Jackson official has proposed a complete 180: Use private philanthropy and tax money to finance a community buyout of the Town Hill.
In light of opposition to some of the resort’s development plans, Bob McLaurin, a Jackson town manager of nearly two decades who stepped down in July, is suggesting a change from the course the town has been pursuing for months in addressing the long-term economic viability of Snow King. He outlined his strategy in a Guest Shot in Wednesday's News&Guide.
“This may be a harebrained idea,” McLaurin said about the piece. “It won’t be the first one I’ve had. But I wrote that to initiate a community conversation about this particular issue.”
It’s an issue he knows well, after working closely with Friends of Snow King when it attempted to buy the mountain in 2011. The nonprofit failed to reach an agreement with Snow King’s investors, and negotiations collapsed. But he believes specific purpose excise tax funding, along with help from private and nonprofit partnerships, could tip the scales this time.
The idea is to get Snow King out of the hands of a for-profit company, thereby eliminating the need to generate revenue through attractions like the zip line that many critics have argued run counter to Jackson’s character.
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