MILTON — TheTwin Rivers Boy Scout Council has given the town of Milton until May 11 to close on its purchase of Camp Boyhaven.
The announcement was made Tuesday at a special Town Board meeting about the 300-acre property off Middle Grove Road along the Kayaderosseras Creek.
Milton Planning Board Chairman Larry Woolbright said the Town Board voted on a resolution to authorize the town attorney to move forward with the May 11 closing and to bond $500,000, as originally planned for the purchase.
Woolbright, who secured a deal with an anonymous donor for $500,000, announced on April 25 that the donor had rescinded his offer, after several attempts were made to reveal the donor’s identity.
Woolbright has since joined forces with Saratoga PLAN, a Saratoga County-based environmental conservation organization, to launch a fundraising effort to help the town purchase Camp Boyhaven.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Woolbright said there had been at least 250 donations totaling more than $100,000.
“It sends a clear message to the council that they’ve done the right thing by continuing to sell to the town instead of a developer, and a strong message to the town that the community supports their efforts,” he said.
On April 27, Twin Rivers Boy Scout Council CEO Mark Switzer said the council unanimously voted to cancel its contract with the town for Boyhaven purchase. The town was initially expected to close on the property’s purchase by Dec. 31.
Switzer cited the missed deadline and the decision by the anonymous donor to back out as reasons why the Boy Scouts decided to pull out of the deal.
The Town Board has decided to meet again on Monday to make sure everything is in place to close on the property on May 11.
Supervisor Scott Ostrander said Monday’s meeting would give the town a better idea of where they are in terms of coming up with the money needed for the sale.
“I’ve been working diligently with Larry, so it’s just a matter of putting it all together,” he said.
Board member Barbara Kerr said she wants to see the purchase completed.
“We have to get a check to the Boy Scouts by May 11 and get this thing in our hands, and then we’ll sit down and talk about the plan moving forward,” she said. “The park may have to sit dormant for a year, but at least it’ll be ours and it will be preserved for the future.”
Kerr said the town is still hoping to recoup a portion of the sale price by selling a portion of the adjoining Middle Grove State Forest to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has expressed interest in the wooded property.
“Without the donor, we’ll definitely have to sell the portion to the state,” she said.
Kerr said the town has heard from interested community members who would volunteer to cut the grass and tend to the property.
“Hopefully, someone will have a good solution to this on Monday,” she said.
Despite the influx in donations, Woolbright said he’s not overly optimistic the town will come up with the outstanding $400,000.
“I suspect the board will be short, and we’ll have to decide what to do from there,” he said. “I just don’t see it happening at this point.”
Maria Trabka, executive director for Saratoga PLAN, said she’s more concerned about the logistics than the money.
“I think we’ll be able to come up with funds even though most of it will be in loans,” she said, citing the possibility of a bridge loan provided by the Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization, which has an office in Albany.
“I’m more worried about getting the different parties on the same page.”
Trabka said Saratoga PLAN decided to step in when the town was having trouble closing on the property, because the organization wants to see the land preserved.
“It lends itself so well to not only ecological protection, but public access as well,” she said. “It’s beloved by all the scouts who have used it in the past and has potential to do the same for generations to come.”
Donations will be accepted until Friday on Saratoga PLAN’s website.
For those interested in donating, visit saratogaplan.org, and click on the link for “Help save Boyhaven.”
The Town Board is scheduled to discuss Camp Boyhaven at 7 p.m. on Monday at Town Hall, 503 Geyser Road, Ballston Spa.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: News, Schenectady County