The Ramada Inn now has the green light to start making plans to renovate their courtyard, after Harrison council unanimously agreed to remove a covenant that allowed public access.
The courtyard and breezeway includes a fountain, trees and seating areas, and has been open to the public since the hotel was built in 1996. The hotel rooms look down into the courtyard, and doors from the main floor can open into it. However, managing director Hardeep Singh Malik told council that the public use of the area is limited.
In a request to the Village, Singh Malik said they are hoping to renovate the first floor of the hotel, possibly building an indoor pool and more meeting space.
“The removal of this covenant and the renovations would give potential benefits to our business and therefore benefit surrounding businesses through increased tourism activity in the village,” Singh Malik wrote.
At Monday’s meetings, all members of council took turns to show support for the hotel’s intention to renovate, and in turn, offer more amenities within the resort community.
“Upgrading the Ramada would create a stronger mid-grade hotel,” said Coun. Sonja Reyerse. Higher occupancy rates would give the Village more RMI funds, she added, while providing spinoff dollars for other local businesses.
Each hotel room is subject to an Resort Municipality Initiative tax, which is collected by the province and then given back to the Village. That money then goes toward projects that work to increase tourism.
“I think this is a really, really good idea,” Coun. Allan Jackson said. With the increased conference space, and indoor pool as an amenity, not only would occupancy rates go up, but so would the hotel’s assessment value, he said. And that would further add to the Village’s bottom line.
The removal of the covenant is just one step in a long process to renovate, however. The hotel management will have to take into account flood construction elevations when re-designing, and go through building permit applications when they are ready to renovate.
Singh Malik was unavailable for comment at press time.