Public trails key to Pine Mountain plan

A redevelopment plan aided by a tax abatement for Pine Mountain Ski & Golf Resort has won approval from Breitung Township, Iron Mountain and Dickinson County. The project includes 35 cabins, bike and walking trails and a community green space. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The new owners of Pine Mountain Resort expect to spend $260,000 on mountain bike trails that will be open to the public as part of an expansion plan approved for tax abatements by local governmental units.

The bike trails appeared to be a key selling point as Breitung Township, Iron Mountain and Dickinson County approved an Act 381 Brownfield Plan for the estimated $25.5 million project proposed by Indianapolis-based Storie Co. The overall investment includes the purchase price, according to the brownfield agreement.

Matthew Moore, a local biking enthusiast, told the county board Monday the trails will be a significant tourism draw, as well as lifting the region’s standing among young professionals. “It should be very beneficial to the community,” he said.

The county board voted unanimously to approve the plan, which allows Storie Co. to recapture taxes it pays on the increased property value, up to a maximum of 30 years.

The company will also pay property taxes on the existing facility, although that value will be frozen over the lifetime of the agreement. The Dickinson County Brownfield Authority, meanwhile, is eligible to receive 10% of the tax recapture.

The amount of Storie Co’s tax recapture will depend on the increase in taxable value, but it cannot exceed $3.66 million, according to the developer’s figures. The approved plan suggests a recapture of only $1.2 million over 30 years, based on a rough estimate of the finished project.

The new development — expected to start this spring — includes 35 cabins totaling more than 14,500 square feet of space on the north section of the resort. The bike trails will include a mountain bike pump track. Other public amenities include sledding hills, walking trails and a community green space.

Nearly $300,000 will be spent on lighting and seating areas and other park improvements, according to the plan. A new entrance from the north off Bellagamba Road and west of Timberstone Golf Course is planned as well.

The brownfield cleanup has an estimated cost of $700,000. It entails demolishing old maintenance buildings and addressing contamination underneath.

The project will result in about 22 full-time equivalent jobs, possibly more, with the plan stating an average wage of $16 an hour. An additional 27 full-time jobs will be retained.

Completion is slated for summer or fall 2024.

Lois Ellis, executive director of the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance, said Storie Co. has been “very focused on engaging the community” since acquiring the 55-room ski and golf resort in December.

Ken Clawson of Iron Mountain told the board he believes the project will be good for the city. “I urge you to be in favor of that,” he said.

Most of the work on parcels totaling more than 282 acres is within the city limits, but a portion is in Breitung Township. The main lodge is in the township while the golf course and much of the skill hill property are in the city.

Trinity Hart, Storie Co. chief product officer, said the pre-fabricated cabins will be “hotel rooms,” with no kitchens. With the new project, Storie Co. expects to create spaces specifically for local people, emphasizing outdoor recreation as a driver for economic development, she said.

She noted jobs have already been added since the change in ownership.

Commissioner Joe Stevens said he was “tickled pink” the new Pine Mountain owners are “as aggressive as you are.”

Breitung Township approved the brownfield plan in a unanimous vote Feb. 27. Iron Mountain’s approval came March 20 in a 4-3 vote, as several council members objected to freezing the taxable value of the existing recreational facility.


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