Boyce Park could join Allegheny County's privatization of operations
Boyce Park's skiing and snowboarding facilities could become part of Allegheny County's plan to privatize more operations at its nine parks, a county councilman said.
County parks department Director Andrew Baechle and Council Vice President Nicholas Futules have been discussing making a proposal to the county administration to contract with a company to operate the facilities, said Futules, D-Oakmont, chairman of the parks committee.
Baechle could not be reached for comment.
The county requested proposals from private companies several years ago but did not receive any, so the discussions have centered around requesting proposals again, Futules said.
County spokeswoman Amie Downs said the administration had no comment on the Boyce privatization proposal.
“The county executive, through the county manager, has asked all of the directors to identify efficiencies (and) opportunities for additional revenues, and that has included commercialization opportunities like the North Park boathouse and the zip line,” she said.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald talked about those plans in an interview on Jan. 23.
“We're going to take a look at, say, our ski slopes, (and ask) is that a business we should be in. I don't know that it is,” he said. “Certain things we'll keep as part of traditional park-like activities.”
In Monroeville and Plum, Boyce is a 1,096-acre park whose facilities include skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing slopes, a lodge and a ski lift. Privatization would not cut jobs but would allow longer operating seasons and reduced costs for the county, Futules said.
A company that specializes in ski resort operations might provide better maintenance, he said.
“When you know ski season is coming, you might want to test the equipment. You don't want to find out the day it snows that you've got something that's not working. And that's something that's happened,” Futules said.
In the past few years, Boyce's ski area has had temporary closings because of mechanical issues. Those included the lift's being down for nine days in the 2010-11 season because a cable came off the guide wheel.
The slopes were open 22 days in 2011-12 because of mild weather, and snow tubing was not offered that season because the park could not make enough snow, Downs said.
The county's nine parks cost about $26 million a year to operate and generate about $5 million in revenue, Futules said.
The parks are partly subsidized with $18 million in Regional Asset District money, which comes from the additional 1 percent sales tax in Allegheny County. Property tax revenue also covers some park costs, Futules said.
On Tuesday, council is scheduled for a final vote on Fitzgerald's proposal for a 10-year contract with Adventure Forest LLC of Derwood, Md., which would build a treetop adventure and zip-line course known as Go Ape North Park at North Park.
The county would collect $20,000 in the first year, with the fee topping out at $40,500 after the fifth year.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com. Staff writer Mike Wereschagin contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New interim director to take over VA regional office in Pittsburgh
- Broken water main creates sinkhole that swallows truck in Overbrook
- Pittsburgh Police looking for dark blue BMW that hit cyclist in East Liberty
- Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
- 1 injured in backhoe accident in Polish Hill
- Developers share their vision for Garden Theater block on North Side
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s banding program a labor of love for avian expert
- Volunteer tutors boost adult literacy in Allegheny County
- National Night Out ‘a start’ for violence-prone Homewood
- Snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.