SARANAC LAKE - Dewey Mountain Friends has reached its goal of raising $350,000 for a new base lodge at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center, capping off a successful winter and spring fundraising effort.
Dewey Mountain Friends Chairman Chris Morris said that the group only had about $125,000 in January, but it made a big push right before the Olympics and was able to bring in a few large donations, in addition to numerous smaller ones from seasonal and local residents and businesses.
Overall, 550 households and businesses contributed to the campaign for the cross-country ski and mountain bike facility.
Dewey Mountain Friends Chairman Chris Morris, front right, carries an item from the Dewey Mountain Recreational Center lodge to a storage trailer Wednesday night. In the background are volunteers Steve Halasz and his son Galen, who are moving some boards. The cross-country ski center’s buildings are being emptied so they may be demolished and replaced with a new base lodge.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
"In my wildest dreams I didn't think we could raise that amount of money in such a short amount of time, so we're really happy and really thankful to everybody for their help," Morris said from Dewey Mountain Wednesday evening.
Donors ranged from Olympians to small children. He especially thanked the Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation and the town of Harrietstown for their help.
Morris was at the Dewey Mountain property Wednesday evening with other volunteers to help move equipment and other items out of the two buildings and into a storage trailer that will remain in the parking lot.
"We need to get everything out of the way so we can tear the buildings down," said Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters owner Steve Doxzon, whose business manages the recreation area.
The town, which owns the property, has approved the demolition of the two existing buildings. Jan Kibben, a Saranac Lake-based construction manager, has been appointed as project representative.
Morris said they have a deadline of June 1 to get the equipment out of the buildings so the demolition of the buildings can start sometime later in the month. He didn't know the exact short-term schedule but said things are looking good in the long term.
"Right now, we're still on target to have the new lodge open by the next ski season," he said. "That's our goal at this point. So while it's important to point out that while our capital campaign, that's the base lodge campaign, is over, we're still doing some additional fundraising. We'll do that throughout the summer at the farmers markets."
Dewey Mountain Friends and a parents-and-kids group called the Dew Crew have shifted their fundraising focus to equipping the lodge with furniture, waxing benches, kitchen equipment and other materials needed for the opening this fall.
The Dew Crew will have a monthly presence at the Saranac Lake Farmers Market in Riverside Park; volunteers will share information about the recreation center and sell raffle tickets for a variety of items, including Olympic memorabilia, a boat, a custom ski quilt from the Pine Tree Quilters and other items.
For those interested in using the Dewey Mountain trails for mountain biking or hiking, they are currently open and are expected to remain that way. However, the main parking lot and access will be closed when construction or demolition is taking place there. Updated information will be available about construction at Dewey Mountain on its website and Facebook page.
For more information about the base lodge project, contact Morris at 518-524-4320. To make a gift to help furnish the lodge, see www.deweymountain.com or contact Mary Thill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interesting in volunteering for projects should contact Chrissy Hayden at email@example.com.