Indoor water park will likely succeed

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I found Ms. Carol Gunn-Kadish’s letter of Aug. 28 on the above subject genuinely insightful, edifying and useful in adding to the ongoing debate over the Indoor Water Park, which the Vernon Council will be deciding upon soon. She must have some high quality inside information sources!

However, I must question certain observations she offered. First, she expressed concern over the water park becoming another flop; like five other properties she listed as examples. Unfortunately three of the ones she listed were “double counted”; only two actual properties in Vernon could be said to have “flopped”: 1) Legends was built by Hugh Hefner in 1972 and has since changed ownership more times than the only bar of soap available at a mud wrestling contest. To blame its lack of success on the Mulvihills alone is quite misleading. Second, The Appalachian was, of course, built by Intrawest, a then notoriously inept developer which distinguished itself by becoming the first winter resort owner in history to have its trophy Vancouver B.C. resort “Whistler” foreclosed in the middle of the men’s downhill while hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. Again the Mulvihills own it now but did not build it.

She also failed to take note of the fact that Vernon’s PILOT program will do nothing more than allow Vernon to “Keep up with the Joneses”. Most states now have property tax rates already so much lower than New Jersey that New Jersey has no choice but to offer PILOT type deals or simply be cut out by the competition. To walk away from this deal would be like walking away from a winning lottery ticket simply because it wasn’t as big a win as we would like. The author also did not discuss how important the water park is to the ongoing financial solvency of Vernon’s Sewer Authority. The proposed indoor water park is probably one of the few things that might prevent the VTMUA from eventually becoming a “ward of the state” at which point she and her fellow taxpayers may have no choice but to bail it out financially without being able to enjoy the simultaneous benefit of actually using the sewers.

What developments have the Mulvihills built that have been successful? Action Park, Mountain Creek, 7 exceptional golf courses and of course Crystal Springs, now ranked as a premier tourist destination throughout the tri-state area; all unqualified successes and contributing substantially to keeping Vernon’s tax rates lower for the 99 percent by being large sources of property tax payments. What have they built that has lasted 30 years? In addition to two of the above perhaps the author should stop by the Minerals Spa, and have a drink at the Tiki Bar which after nearly 30 years is looking better than ever, and its quite successful adjoining hotel. While there, check out the 28-year-old Great Gorge Village, co-built by Gene Mulvihill in 1987 now enjoying a 95 percent occupancy rate and rapidly improving financial profile.

I am sure even Mr. Mulvihill himself would not deny that at times he may suffer from somewhat of an “image problem”. But to say that he builds “flops” is, simply based on the historic facts completely inaccurate. The indoor water park will, like or not, almost certainly be another success.

Roy Tanfield

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