Supporters of the Cedar Lakes Resort and Conference Center received hopeful news in December when state Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, outlined a plan to save the popular, but financially struggling facility.
Earlier in the fall, the state Board of Education said it may seek to either close the 228-acre facility in Jackson County or have it transferred to another state agency. The problem for the board is that the facility each year receives $3 million, but only brings in $2 million.
Carmichael, speaking at a state board meeting earlier, proposed transferring ownership of the facility to the Cedar Lakes Foundation. Carmichael said this would free the board of its financial obligation and allow the foundation to run the facility more like a business.
Under Carmichael's plan, the transfer would be gradual, beginning in July 2015 and continue over the next five years. The state board would continue to fund the facility, but its contribution would lessen every year until the foundation has complete ownership and financial responsibility.
Cedar Lakes is among the more popular facilities in our area. Every year it is used by schools and private groups. It also is the site of one of the biggest arts and crafts events in this part of the country-the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Festival. Closing would be a tremendous loss.
While the board took no action on Carmichael's plan, it did signal its support for the proposal. The board meets again in January when a vote will be taken.
Carmichael's proposal seems to be a good solution, and we urge the board to approve his proposal. It lessens the state's contribution and it keeps a valuable facility open for the types of events that benefit the residents.