WILDWOOD, MO – A passionate debate Tuesday night as dozens packed the City of Wildwood council chambers discussing the future of the Hidden Valley Ski Resort.
A series of warmer than usual winters have hurt business and the resort proposed a way to utilize its large space and make more money.
The resort wants to add a zip line attraction but there has been some opposition from concerned neighbors.
Several people on both sides of the debate took the podium, a majority of whom spoke in support of the proposal.
“This is a gem of this area,” said Rick Menendez, who is a frequent skier at the resort.
“I mean most towns pay money for recreational areas but they’re trying to close it. Most towns encourage businesses and they’re doing the opposite. It’s something thousands of people enjoy and brings people from out of town. It would be a tragedy if they closed it.”
According to Hidden Valley leadership, it needs to operate the lines year-round, during all daylight hours in order to stay in business beyond this ski season.
But the city and neighbors want to limit zip line operations from April to October and from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Some neighbors said that while they aren’t against the ski resort they are concerned about noise that the year-round operation will bring, among other things.
“People come to Wildwood because this is one of the few places left for property in St. Louis County with decent school districts,” said Shannon Surhe, “l didn’t buy here for Hidden Valley, I didn’t buy here to be closer to Hidden Valley, I shelled out my $1,100 for season passes for my kids for Hidden Valley so I support Hidden Valley financially but I do not support a zip line coming into my backyard.”
With a unanimous decision, the Wildwood Planning and Parks Committee approved the proposal with some recommendations.
Those recommendations include year-round operation, 9 a.m. until sunset (the last tour must complete by sunset) and location of the zip lines as proposed.
Hidden Valley relocated zip line #4 so it is completely within their existing conditional use permit. Zip line #3 will be included in a new section of the conditional use area that was approved for recommendation Tuesday night. The proposal still needs the full council’s final vote which is expected to take place at the full city council meeting slated for January 22nd.