Mat-Su contemplates resort

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Matanuska-Susitna Borough officials say the time is finally right for a four-season Hatcher Pass resort, and they're taking their message nationwide.

A prime recreation area 55 miles north of Anchorage in the Talkeetna Mountains, Hatcher already draws borough and Anchorage residents to ski, hike and snowmachine under craggy peaks.

The borough will run ads in a broad range of national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, to gauge developers' interest in a resort that includes homes, cabins, and condominiums and possibly a convention center.

A ski resort at Hatcher Pass has been a dream for at least 20 years. Three resort developers have tried and failed, apparently stymied by high costs, environmental concerns and uncertain consumer demand.

"Everything's in place," said Borough Mayor Tim Anderson. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen now."

Among other things, the borough has gained control of the land, the local population has increased and access has improved.

This time around, talk has turned to making a resort that banks on tourists in summer and skiers in winter, but also benefits local residents.

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