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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Priority grant status could give Swain a big lift

  • Swain Resort's proposal to install a high speed detachable quad chairlift to replace two old, inefficient lifts has earned project endorsements from a state economic development council.

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  • Swain Resort's proposal to install a high speed detachable quad chairlift to replace two old, inefficient lifts has earned project endorsements from a state economic development council.
    In addition to Swain, projects at Alfred University and Wellsville have earned “priority project endorsements” and the opportunity to secure grant funding, according to state officials.
    A top Allegany County economic official welcomed the state's decision to push forward with three key local proposals.
    “We are pretty excited that we got these three (projects endorsed),” Allegany County Planner Kier Dirlam said late last week. “It's really good news.”
    The Swain project is in the tourism category and includes an upgrade to the resort's amenities.
     Swain's long-term plans call for the addition of 150 full time equivalent jobs for employees from the underemployed demographic. This project is anticipated to lead to 10 direct jobs, the Western New York Regional Council forecast.
    Swain's total project cost is $1.75 million, according to Laura Magee, deputy public affairs director with Empire State Development. The ESD grant is for $350,000 of the project. Magee said final funding will be announced later this fall. From the projects selected for priority grant status, a consistency is their likelihood to have a “significant regional impact,” officials said.
    Swain operators are excited about the grant news, calling it a pivotal development.
    “We're thrilled to have gained this first step in the process,” co-owner Scott Carts said Sunday.
    Carts said another key component of the project is increasing the resort's snow-making capacity by 80 percent. If that occurs, Swain estimates it will attract an additional 15,000 to 20,000 ski visits each year. Carts pointed out the economic impact that type of increase would have on businesses throughout the area.
    Carts said Swain has other grant requests in the works as it puts the rest of the financing in place.
    The best case scenario, he said, would be breaking ground on the projects in the late summer of 2013. Delays could push the project to the summer of 2014.

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