This summer the state plans to help the developers of the Balsams by spending almost $3 million to fix a 1.8 mile road at the resort.
The seasonal Golf Links Road connects the now-closed Balsams hotel and the golf course.
The road, which belongs to the state, is in bad shape. Erosion, steep slopes and wetlands will make repairs along its 1.8 miles tricky, according to the minutes of a DOT meeting in January.
The price: $2.8 million.
That compares to the $1.7 million to $2.1 million DOT spends in a typical year for paving projects in the North Country, said Philip Beaulieu, the engineer who heads up District One.
This year, however, Beaulieu said the paving budget is higher than normal: about $5.9 million.
The $2.8 million for Golf Links Road won’t cut into the DOT budget for the North Country, says Bill Cass, DOT’s associate commissioner.
But Coos County Commissioner Rick Samson says if there’s extra money in the DOT budget it shouldn’t be spent on Golf Links Road.
“There are plenty of roads in our district that need upgrading, hot-topping and repairing,” he said.
But Golf Links is the state’s responsibility and the project will help the region, says Jeff Rose, the commissioner at the Department of Resources and Economic Development.
“It will help facilitate the redevelopment of the Balsams project, which is critical in many, many ways,” Rose said.
When the project is finished the road will be given to the Balsams and the resort will be responsible for maintenance.
Developer Les Otten is promising a world-class, year-around resort including expanded ski slopes, condominiums and a conference center. But he has yet to secure full financing for the project or a site plan approval.