Saratoga County

Camp Boyhaven deal slipping away

Town tries to reach out to council to see if 300-acre property purchase is still possible
Camp Boyhaven in Milton NY on June 29th, 2017.
Camp Boyhaven in Milton NY on June 29th, 2017.

MILTON — The clock is ticking on the town’s hopes of purchasing Camp Boyhaven from the Boy Scouts.

The deadline to purchase the property from the Twin Rivers Boy Scout Council remains 1 p.m. on Friday, despite a request for more time from the Town Board. 

At its Wednesday meeting, the Town Board voted to request the extension from the Boy Scouts to close a deal to purchase the 300-acre property, located off Middle Grove Road along the Kayaderosseras Creek. The Boy Scouts closed the camp last summer. 

But the Boy Scout council also met Wednesday and unanimously voted to adhere to Friday’s closing deadline.

“There’s no change on our part,” said Twin Rivers CEO Mark Switzer. He added that the council’s board of directors had not heard from the town after the town’s Wednesday meeting. 

For their part, the Twin Rivers council has suggested that, if the town needs to extend the closing date, it should make an offer that would help the council pay monthly expenses they’re incurring on the property. That’s about $1,000 a month for utilities and insurance costs, Switzer said. 

“We need to see something that would help us understand how this would come together in the future,” he said. 

If the town misses Friday’s deadline, Switzer said the council would begin reaching out to those who previously bid on the property. 

“I have no other offerings in writing on my desk at the moment, so we’ll go back to the original bidders,” he said. 

If the town wants to re-bid on the project after the current deal dies, Switzer said, the council will consider that bid. 

The town was originally supposed to close on the purchase by Dec. 31, 2017. 

Supervisor Scott Ostrander said he was still waiting to hear back from the Boy Scouts as of Thursday afternoon to set-up a meeting.

“We’d like to meet with them directly to see what direction they’re going to go in,” he said. 

Though a special meeting had been scheduled for Monday night at Town Hall, Ostrander said it is canceled. 

Board member Barbara Kerr said she wishes the sale had been voted on at Wednesday’s meeting. 

“We should’ve done a resolution,” she said. “Then the public could have seen who was against it.”

Milton Planning Board Chairman Larry Woolbright has been working on the Camp Boyhaven purchase for more than a year. 

“I’ve spent an enormous amount of time on preparations to purchase the property,” he said. “I feel like I’ve wasted a year of my life on something that was never intended to happen.”

Woolbright secured an anonymous donation of $500,000 to help pay for the camp. But after some members of the public made attempts to discover the donor’s identity, the donor rescinded the offer, Woolbright said.

Woolbright then joined forces with Saratoga PLAN, a Saratoga County-based environmental conservation organization, to launch a fundraising effort for the purchase

On Thursday, Woolbright said around $117,000 had been pledged by private individuals. 

Woolbright added that the town would likely have made money off the purchase, since the deal was supported by a $50,000 grant from the Saratoga County Farmland and Open Space Protection Program. A home on the property was appraised for at least $100,000, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation had expressed interest in buying a portion of the adjoining Middle Grove State Forest, if Camp Boyhaven was purchased by the town, he said.

“The [Town Board’s] refusal to take action was a purposeful maneuver to end the project,” he said. “If their intention was to never purchase this property, I wish they would have said that upfront.”

Lifelong Milton resident Jim Staulters had three signs on his pickup truck before Wednesday’s meeting that read, “Buy Boyhaven.”

“The town has had plenty of time,” he said. “They’ve dragged their feet.”

Staulters, who camped at Boyhaven as a child, said it was the “perfect piece of property for the town.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” he said. “There’s a good chance we’re going to lose it.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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