Mercury File Photo
Camp Laughing Waters, owned by the Girl Scouts, comprises 455 acres, 375 of which are in New Hanover Township and 127 acres of which are in Upper Frederick Township.
Last year, as officials were putting together a funding package to try to preserve the 455-acre Girl Scout Camp that straddles the New Hanover, Upper Ferederick Township line, New Hanover pledged $50,000 toward the effort.
However, the effort failed to attract the $1.2 million in state grants upon which the purchase of a conservation easement to preserve Camp Laughing Waters depends.
So this year, those involved are setting their sights a bit lower, and only seeking a $500,000 grant from the state. They would like to make up the difference with a big chunk of New Hanover Township's open space money.
|Camp Laughing Waters has a disc golf course.|
To say they were suffering from sticker shock might be an understatement.
"It's a big number going from $50,000 to $800,000 and giving us only a few weeks is almost impossible," said Supervisor Boone Flint.
Noting that he agrees with the goal of preserving the property, Supervisor Charles W. Garner Jr. said "$800,000 is a huge amount to ask for. I think it's a great project, but to come to us on April 1 and say you need an $800,000 commitment in 12 days, that's a lot for me to swallow," says Garner.
He pointed out that in December, the township spent $571,000 from its open space fund to preserve 47.5 acres of the Ambassador course of the Hickory Valley golf course. and it was a lot to ask for quickly when the township may have other priorities for that money.
|Camp Laughing Waters, shown in pink, is surrounded by other preserved open space, parks and permanently preserved farmland.|
But the New Hanover Supervisors were unimpressed with that argument. Garner said by his calculation, Upper Frederick's percentage of preserved acreage should put them on the hook for about $100,000.
|Camp Laughing Waters also has a sizeable pool.|
New Hanover is considering required efforts to remove
sediment from Swamp Creek, which runs through
the camp property.