SWSA leaps over funding obstacles for jump
SALISBURY â€” The Salisbury Winter Sports Associationâ€™s fundraising is proceeding well. According to organization president Ken Barker, a little over $500,000 of the $700,000 target has been raised, and â€œweâ€™re chipping away at it.â€
â€œWe hope to be done by the first of the year.â€
A proposal for the town to provide $140,000 per year for five years in credit support for SWSAâ€™s plan to rebuild the ski jump at Satre Hill â€” in order to host the national Junior Olympics ski jumping event, among other things â€” passed easily at a special town meeting Friday, March 5.
The association, known as SWSA or swah-suh, approached the town in February with a request for financial backing.
Time was of the essence; SWSA had received an offer from the United States Ski and Snowboard Association to host the 2011 Junior Olympics (in ski jumping and Nordic combined) in February. The catch was that a) the ski jump, judges tower and landing hill all had to be rebuilt or improved in order to host the events and b) USSA required a response by March 10.
When SWSA officials first met with the Board of Finance in February to discuss the matter, the $140,000 figure was derived by dividing the estimated total cost of the project â€” $700,000 â€” by five years. At that time SWSA had raised about $160,000.
The cushion was provided, the deal to host the Junior Olympics was made, and the ski jump volunteers proceeded with efforts to raise all the money they need. The hope is that SWSA will never actually have to tap into town funds.
Barker said construction at the site should begin soon. â€œWeâ€™ll have steel up in the air in about four weeks.â€
Some trees had to be cleared from the jump site on Satre Hill, Barker said. â€œWeâ€™re hoping people will use the space for other eventsâ€ â€” such as the Jane Lloyd Clambake, Saturday, July 31.
Barker said that roughly 40 percent of the total raised has been in the form of small donations â€” $10, $25 in cash or checks. An appeal letter â€” a strategy SWSA has never used before â€” was productive. And the group will seek grants from the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and Eastern Ski Jumping.
First Selectman Curtis Rand is also working on an application for a state Small Town Economic Assistance program (STEAP) grant.
The STEAP application asks for the maximum of $500,000 â€” $400,000 toward the cost of construction of an events/maintenance building at the base of the hill (estimated at $600,000); $75,000 (of an estimated $150,000) for improved snowmaking capability; and $25,000 (of $50,000) for reconstruction of the tower for childrenâ€™s jumping.
The Montgomery Masonic Lodge donated the proceeds of its first lobster sale of the summer, and a fundraiser is planned for Saturday, Aug. 7, with Joe Bouchardâ€™s Tree Top at the Wake Robin Inn.
Finally, SWSA is looking for local and national sponsors for the Junior Olympics.
â€œFrom Town Hall to the town crew, everybodyâ€™s been very supportive,â€ said Barker.
To make a contribution to the Salisbury Winter Sports Association fund to rebuild the ski jump, send a check made out to BTCF/SWSA to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, 271 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230 or donate online at berkshiretaconic.org. For more information on SWSA and the ski jumps see jumpfest.org.