The town’s offer to buy the 300-acre Camp Boyhaven property amounted to $1 million — thanks to an anonymous donor who pledged to throw in $500,000 to keep the land undeveloped.
The town’s proposal to pay $500,000 would not have been competitive without the donation, said Town Supervisor Dan Lewza, who released the dollar figure Friday, a week after the town was awarded the bid from the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He said the donor approached the town with his desire to help and wanted to remain anonymous. His donation will go to the Boy Scouts of America.
“I think it’s a pretty amazing thing that this gentleman would look to get involved to make sure that Boyhaven remains open land, that people are able to enjoy it, and for what the property has always been used for,” he said, “and I certainly appreciate his generosity in allowing that to happen. I think that’s going to go a long way to helping us secure the property.”
The town hopes to offset the $500,000 purchase price with open space grant funding; it is applying for $250,000 in state funding as well as $50,000 from the county, Lewza said.
The town’s proposal was among 10 submitted to the council and one of two finalists settled on by a task force created by Richard Stockton, the council’s scout executive and CEO.
The town plans to turn the land, first used as a Boy Scout camp in 1924, into a public park with camping, fishing, horseback riding and other activities. Before that can happen, the town must go through a process that includes a public hearing and a possible permissive referendum, Lewza said. Town officials are also working on securing a firm commitment from the state, which has expressed interest in purchasing some of the land, he said.
The town is in the process of surveying the property to get it appraised, he said.
“After all that is met, the board will take a vote on the money that we put in for a bid — that process is really just beginning now,” the town supervisor said. “I’m hoping that it’s sometime this year, but it could be early next year.”
The Twin Rivers Council announced the scouting camp’s closure in May, citing declining usage, funds and volunteers. Proceeds from the sale will go to improving the council’s two remaining camps, the Rotary Scout Reservation in Averill Park and Camp Wakpominee in Fort Ann, Stockton said.