The Logan County Fiscal Court voted five to two Tuesday, Feb. 14 to offer the Lincoln Trail Council $1.1 million dollars to purchase 758 acres of Wildcat Hollow, known as Boy Scout Camp, located in the northern part of the county. The camp is approximately 1,050 acres with a lake. The City of Russellville owns the lake and an easement around it and will retain ownership even if a deal is struck.
Magistrates Dickie Carter, Jack Crossley, Jo Orange and Thomas Bouldin all voted yes to the venture, along with Judge Executive Logan Chick. Magistrates Barry Joe Wright and Drexel Johnson voted no.
Johnson said he couldn’t vote to make the offer because he thought the county needed to take care of what it had. There is tax legislation in Frankfort that could eventually place a burden on counties and Wright said he is concerned about what may come.
“I just couldn’t vote for it,” said Wright. The camp is in part of his district. “I was also curious as to why the agency who owned the property outright couldn’t make a go of it.”
Boy Scout Lake was created over 50 years ago when property was purchased with funds collected within the community and a $360,000 donation from Ervin G. Houchens of Houchens Industries. Over the years the camp has drawn thousands of Boy Scouts from Logan County as well as the region. Within the past few years, however, the camp has been caught up in bureaucracy and is in need of several thousands of dollars in repairs.
Judge Executive Chick said he felt the camp would be a good investment for the county. “There are always people looking for somewhere to kayak, bicycle, and hike,” said Chick.
This is not a done deal, however. The offer will be taken into consideration by the Lincoln Trails Council at its next meeting.
“The county has the money to purchase the property in a savings account making very little interest,” said magistrate Jo Orange. “The amount offered for the property is below market value. It is a great business deal. This property offers Logan County a unique opportunity to provide a fantastic recreational park. The number of acres together is rarely available. It offers countless possibilities.”
Orange said there are many grants available to help in the development of the property.
Magistrate Jack Crossley said he voted for the offer for the future of Logan Countians. “This can be something for everyone. People will be able to hike and look at wildlife. We have a lot of work to do but we can apply for grants to help. This is not gonna break the bank. It was a hard decision for me, but I was looking to the community.”
Crossley said he would like to see the county hire someone to stay out on the property if they in fact purchase it. Someone to watch out over the property and make sure it is being used correctly.
“If we don’t go ahead and take hold of it, we might be missing out on it,” Crossley added.
In April of 2012, the Lincoln Heritage Council assumed responsibility for the camp of the former Shawnee Trails Council out of Owensboro. The council currently offers fishing permits and uses the camp a few times a year. It is known to the council as the Badgett Scout Reservation.
“I’ve been trying to get the county to buy this property for 10 years,” said magistrate Dickie Carter. “Finally we’ve got the opportunity to do it. This is a great opportunity for Logan County. It will be a good asset for industry and for the citizens of the county. They will have something to do. There is no place for people to go now. It’s not like it used to be.”
Carter mentioned horse back riding, hiking, boating, and industry being able to hold retreats there. He said even the Scouts can still use it.
“This is not a money making thing,” Carter said. “This will be something the taxpayers can use and see where their taxes are going. It will not break the county. We have plenty of money. We will not have to borrow anything to buy it. It’s a win win.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.