Big Rock Receives $2.5 Million Dollar Grant From EDA

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 2:04 PM EDT
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Mars Hill, Maine (WAGM) - A $2.5 million grant is coming to Big Rock, in Mars Hill to boost tourism by supporting ski lift and snow making capacity at Big Rock.

Improvements are coming to Big Rock Mountain in Mars Hill. U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced it will be investing $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Recreational upgrades at Big Rock. The Big Rock board is excited.

Darrell McCrum, Big Rock Board of Directors President

“I am extremely excited about the announcement of the EDA Grant for big rock not only as a board member, but as a dad. I’ve got two kids, we spend the weekends at big rock in the winter time, and to come out here, see the activity of the youth here in Aroostook county. Oftentimes you’ll see three generations skiing, you’ll see the kids, the mom and dad, and the grandparents out here. Without this investment from the EDA in the local community at big rock that could go away.”

The project will help make ski lift improvements like a new chairlift and increase snow making capacity to boost the local tourism industry at Big Rock. The board says these improvements are essential, and will help improve and attract more people to Big Rock and Aroostook County for years to come.

Aaron Damon, Marketing Director and Assistant GM at Big Rock

“These types of improvements are essential, it is inevitable that you will have to replace your chair lift. There is nothing necessarily wrong with what we have, but it is aging. It’s over 50 years old, so the importance of having this lift is looking into the future of this ski area.”

Mike Chasse, Board Member of Big Rock

“Winters are long here in Northern Maine, you got to have a way to have fun. By having a vibrant ski hill, it’s going to help all our schools, our employers attract more people that want to live here, because they are passionate about the great outdoors. So by building up on Big Rock, we are just going to strengthen one of the key things that makes Northern Maine special which our snow and our winters.”

McCrum says the timeline of the project will have some dependence on equipment availability, but Big Rock will look to start in the summer of 2023.

Darrell McCrum, Big Rock Board of Directors President

“It will probably take into 2024, or possibly 2025 to finish. Right now it is tough to get some of the materials, but I think you can start to see some construction starting next summer, and extending through 2024. With an anticipated goal of opening 2024-2025.”

And in terms of the sport side, Damon says this project will help grow future athletes and competitions at Big Rock.

Aaron Damon, Marketing Director and Assistant GM at Big Rock

“All of these athletes and these future athletes are learning to ski here at Big Rock, and we have instructor programs, we have race programs, they get these kids on skis, a lot of time for the first time. So when you look at a new lift, you are looking at 40 years of future skiers and it’s really exciting.”

Isaac Potter, News Source sports