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Laurel Mountain ski plan needs more information, planners say

| Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Pennsylvania wants skiers to hit the slopes of Laurel Mountain Ski Resort in Ligonier Township next year.

But before plans to reopen the ski area can move forward, the project architect and engineer must submit additional information to the township planning commission.

Architect Cherie H. Moshier of Moshier Studio in Pittsburgh and engineer Keith Gindlesperger of H.F. Lenz Co. in Johnstown presented plans Tuesday night to renovate and restore the ski facilities, closed since 2005, at Laurel Mountain State Park, the 500-plus- acre property off Route 30.

Because of some clarification that is needed on a sewage and storm-water maintenance agreement reached in 2012 between the township and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Moshier and Gindlesperger asked for a 90-day waiver to look into crafting a new agreement.

Gindlesperger said they had intended to go before the commission last month, in hopes of receiving supervisors' approval in time for a meeting with the state Department of General Services next week.

He said it could take months to get the agreement reworked with the two state departments.

Township solicitor Michael Korns said another extension can be requested if an agreement is not reached within 90 days.

Moshier said the project has been on hold and redesigned in the past five years.

Three years ago, the plans included a snowtubing park and an additional parking area. Neither is included in the new plan.

Without the parking lot, a stormwater maintenance agreement with the township is not needed. The documents received by township engineer Dorothy Boring included the snowtubing park, so Moshier and Gindlesperger will have to submit the proper plans.

Moshier said Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which will operate the facility as a concession for the state, wants to focus more on skiing.

Two lifts at the park are not operational. One lift will be replaced. The other, which was used for beginners, will not be put back into service. Slopes below that point will be regraded and realigned.

Ponds on the property will be used as a water supply to make snow, Moshier said.

A small pond, where water collects at the bottom of the site, is going to be doubled in size, for a capacity of 4 million gallons. Two small ponds at the top of the site will be combined to make a large pond.

The electrical system will be upgraded, Moshier said.

Gindlesperger said there is a $5.2 million allocation for the project, of which $2 million is designated for the ski lift replacement. The rest will go toward the grading and expansion of the pond and infrastructure for the snowmaking water supply, he said.

“It means a lot to the community, both as an economic generator and just people love this park,” Moshier said.

“Certainly, there are a lot of locals and others out of the area that have expressed interest in it,” Gindlesperger said.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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