State to Take Over Popular Weston Skiing Facility
Gov. Charlie Baker is a fan of privatizing some public services in order to extract efficiencies, but his administration is doing the opposite with a popular Weston recreational area.
The Weston Ski Track at Leo J. Martin Golf Course will be run by the state this winter for the first time in over 40 years when the Department of Conservation and Recreation takes it over from Charles River Recreation, a private operator of local outdoor spaces.
The move, according to a Boston Globe report, came as a shock to many, including the track’s management.
“No warning was given,” said Larry Smith, owner of Charles River Recreation, in an interview with the Globe.
Smith submitted a bid to provide rental equipment at the track this fall but he is unsure if his proposal will be the one selected by the state. He expressed to the Globe strong concern about the state’s ability to provide the same quality of skiing at the track.
Others associated with the track are speaking cautiously about the state’s ability to run the track on such short notice.
In their fall newsletter, the Friends of Leo J. Martin Skiing said they were preparing an alternative plan for the track if the state is unsuccessful in its attempt at operating the track. The group said they have been in communication with DCR and the agency assured them that the track will be meet the high standards its users have come to expect. According to an April report in the Boston Herald, the group formed in 2014 in response to unpopular changes at the facility.
Smith said he was planning to retire soon and had hoped that the Friends of Leo J. Martin Skiing would take over the track in his absence.
“My hope is the skiing won’t suffer,” Smith said to the Globe.
DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez framed the move to take over the ski track as a financial one.
“The department has invested in upgrading the infrastructure to enhance the skiing at the course to deliver an exceptional product at a truly dual use facility that will not only save the taxpayers’ money, but will also bring in additional revenue for the state,” said Sanchez in a statement.
Sanchez said DCR will “work directly with, and meet the needs of, its patrons, stakeholders, and the community to deliver an exceptional recreational experience.”
This fall, DCR is slated to upgrade the outdoor lighting and snowmaking systems at the track as part of its three-year capital improvement plan for Leo J. Martin Golf Course.