The county’s desire to purchase Wildcat Hollow Boy Scout Camp has temporarily been put on hold due to community concern over lack of planning.
Magistrates voted Tuesday to rescind a decision made in February to offer $1.1 million dollars to the Lincoln Trails Council of the Boy Scouts to buy the camp. Magistrate Drexel Johnson made the motion to rescind saying he did not believe the purchase would benefit the county as some hoped, and was hearing a great deal of negative feedback from constituents in his district, as well as other districts.
“I’m just doing what is being told to me and is expected of me as a magistrate,” said Johnson.
The Fourth District Magistrates’s motion was seconded by Barry Joe Wright, who has been in opposition of the proposed deal from the beginning.
“I am getting the calls too,” said Wright, who has been curious as to why the Boy Scouts, who owned the property outright, couldn’t “make a go of it” themselves. Wright was also concerned about how the county would pay for upgrades and maintenance on the property.
Jack Crossley voted in favor of not offering the money at this time without a plan.
Magistrates Dickie Carter, Jo Orange and Thomas Bouldin all voted to continue forward with trying to buy the land; believing it to be a sound economic decision, as well as providing a place of entertainment for the citizens. The decision fell on Judge Executive Logan Chick to break the tie as he had before when another motion for rescinding occurred where he voted against it. This time, however, Chick voted to rescind saying, “I am tired of being the tie breaker. The community seems to be divided like the court. We need a plan.”
“We need to ask those who call us why they are against it,” said magistrate Thomas Bouldin, believing many don’t give a definitive answer. “Once you explain what we plan to do with the property people get a better understanding.”
Bouldin expressed his reasoning for voting to make the offer, saying it was a quality of life issue for him. Bouldin says he sees people working in Logan County, but living elsewhere.
“We need to see growth in our community,” said Bouldin. “We don’t have the population growth. It’s been flat within the last 15 years. We cannot sustain ourselves if we don’t have some type of growth.”
Bouldin wanted to make it clear there was no dissension on the court about the decision.
“Nobody is mad at anyone on this body. Everyone is voting their conscious and they are representing their constituents well,” he said.
Jonathan Epley, a resident of Logan County, spoke to the court giving his answers.
“I agree with the vision, but I have yet to hear a plan,” said Epley. “How are you going to replenish the $1.1 million dollars? Where are you going to come up with the funds to bring it up to where it needs to be? How are you going to maintain it? How do you know you can get the grants needed?”
Epley said he felt there were other places in the county that the court could invest in. He mentioned a building for the coroner and the county’s Search & Rescue. He mentioned upgrading the dispatch center as well.
“Right now there is no plan. These are questions the citizens are asking,” ended Epley.
The Lincoln Trails Council was due to open the county’s offer March 22. According to Judge Chick, he is going to speak with the council asking if it will give the county time to come up with a strategic plan the community will be comfortable with.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.