The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


June 6, 2014

Tamarack OK’d to seek license for micro-brews

Visitors to Tamarack who are interested in locally produced crafts and foods will have some new potable products to choose from shortly.

The Parkways Authority voted unanimously Thursday to authorize Tamarack’s executive director to seek a license to sell non-intoxicating beer at the state’s largest venue for West Virginia made items.

But visitors won’t be able to sip a cold one while dining at Tamarack’s restaurant. Instead, the beer from micro-breweries around the state will be sold warm for consumption off the premises.

The authority also passed its annual budget Thursday. Anticipating net revenues of more than $44 million for the next fiscal year, the budget also reflects the same cutbacks in expenses as other state agencies.

Parkways Authority Chair Jason Pizatella, who is also Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s deputy chief of staff, said Tomblin is pleased with the budget.

Pizatella called the budget “solid.”

Toll revenues are expected to increase next year by a modest 1.8 percent, but that’s fine with Parkways Director Greg Barr.

Memorial Day traffic, perhaps a precursor to the increase in toll-paying traffic next year, was up 2 percent. Barr said he’d hoped for more people to be suffering from “cabin fever” after a particularly long, cold winter to be out on the roads for the unofficial beginning of summer, but would take the increase over last year’s traffic as a sign that “things are heating up a little bit.”

Barr might be anticipating more travel on the highways, but the budget reflects fewer meals consumed along the way at Parkways venues. Food sales are anticipated to be reduced by $409,000, a 12.3 percent decrease from last year at Tamarack.

Likewise, The Greenbrier’s management fee for its Tamarack location is reduced by $8,400, 12.7 percent. Food revenue there is projected to lose $849,750 for the next fiscal year, or about 17.3 percent.

Actual figures for April’s losses at Tamarack show that food services revenue was down by more than $3,000 for the month, and year to date $322,723.83.

Tamarack’s total losses for the fiscal year were $379,317.26 at the end of April.

Visitor count there remains steady, but revenues from the shop were down 12.7 percent in April. Sales figures for crafts for the year up to April 30 were down 3.8 percent.

Tamarack will also lose its general manager as Cheryl Hartley retires after 14 years at the popular tourist stop.

Hartley said Tamarack continues to reap awards for its service, including a 2014 Trip Advisor Award of Excellence.

“There are still great things to come,” she said.

In other business, the Authority:

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