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Supervisor Monaghan Says Camp Bullowa Appraises At $3.8 Million
By Tina Traster
Having corralled support from land conservancies, Rockland County, New York State, and town residents, Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan is hoping Camp Bullowa will be bought for open space and preserved for the Boy Scouts.
“We are putting together a package that we are going to submit by 3 pm on Wednesday, said Monaghan. “We are submitting a proposal that would keep a large portion of the 313 acres preserved for open space but also a portion of it will continue to be used by the Boy Scouts.”
Sept. 15th is the deadline for the Boy Scouts of America Greater Hudson Valley Council to accept bids on three Hudson Valley properties, including Camp Bullowa. The Council, which has been forced to sell assets to satisfy the court that is overseeing the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy, must raise $6.2 million to satisfy its obligation.
The Town of Stony Point in recent months has been amassing the support of several partners to try to purchase and preserve the verdant parcel. Monaghan says the Open Space Institute is leading the effort to buy the land and maintain a portion of it for continued Boy Scout activity. OSI’s primary method of conserving land is through direct property purchase.
But OSI generally is not a landowner, and in most transactions, the land is sold back to a local municipality or the state.
“When we’re using this model, the idea is not to hold onto the property for the long term,” said Eileen Larrabee, spokeswoman for OSI. “Usually there’s an agreement. A town board, for example, is on board to purchase the property. Or the state has shown an interest. What we look for is some kind of assurance that there is a long-term funding plan.”
Larrabee would not specifically say which entity has made a commitment to ultimately own the land if the bid is accepted.
The New York City-based OSI is a nonprofit group of project leaders, researchers, land stewards, attorneys, accountants, and office managers who champion land conservation. The 40-year-old nonprofit works with government agencies, landowners, and local land trusts to purchase and acquire land to protect diverse landscapes.
The group has to date protected 151,000 acres of open space in the Adirondacks, Hudson River Valley, Shawangunks and Catskills.
“We are aware that the property is for sale and are currently gathering information with the intention of submitting a proposal for the September 15th deadline.” said Dene Lee, Senior Director of Northeast Land at the OSI.
In recent weeks, the Open Space Institute paid for the parcel to be appraised. The land, which includes a dam, appraised at $3.8 million.
“We have garnered support from the town, the county and the state to try to save Camp Bullowa,” said Monaghan. “The goal is to gather funding from a host of sources. Ultimately, we’d like to see the state purchase the land as open space. We may not have to use a penny of town funds.”
But it remains to be seen what kind of bids the Boy Scouts receive, and whether a simpler or higher market-rate offer is more tempting.
Hudson Valley’s Council CEO Richard Stockton has said the need to raise funds from the sale of one or more Hudson Valley properties including Camp Bullowa, Durland Scout Reservation and Camp Nooteeming.
Stockton would not say how much the Council needs to raise but he has said if Boy Scouts could salvage one or even two of the camps by selling a third at a high enough price, his organization would do so because the organization wants to preserve any camp that can be saved.
However, he has also said the 501C3 is looking for the highest bidder.
The camp site at 17 Franck Road, is zoned SR-R Special Recreation/Residential, which allows single-family residence on 4.6 acre lots, public parks, playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities.
All three camps are being marketed by Cushman Wakefield.
“In my opinion, we are offering Camp Bullowa the best option to keep the camp for the Boy Scouts,” the Supervisor said. “If the Boy Scouts want to sell the camp to the highest bidder, then there’s nothing I can do.”
Hoping lightening will strike twice, Monaghan points to the successful acquisition of the 353-acre Camp Addisone Boyce property that has been permanently protected under an arrangement by Scenic Hudson and the property owner, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Inc.
Scenic Hudson purchased a conservation agreement for 113 acres of the property, which includes the camp’s main facilities and activity areas. The site has been protected against future development. Further, the environmental group purchased the remaining 240 acres of forest outright.