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Twin Rivers Moves On After Failed Camp Boyhaven Sale

A vehicle parked outside a Milton town board meeting earlier this year
Lucas Willard
A vehicle parked outside a Milton town board meeting earlier this yer

This story has been updated 7/27/18 3:30 p.m.

A local scouting organization is moving on after it failed to sell a former Cub Scout camp to the Saratoga County Town of Milton.

Milton’s plan to purchase Camp Boyhaven stretched on over several months and two town supervisors. But Twin Rivers Council, the local organization that owns the camp, is done moving deadlines. Mark Switzer is the council executive.

“We actually thought we had a deal. We had the town’s $500,000 in escrow, we identified two $250,000 donors. So the funds were actually right at our fingertips,” said Switzer.

The town had planned to keep the property as a passive-recreation park.

But after missing a deadline last Friday, the council killed the deal. The town board broke the news to the public at its meeting Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Milton offered to buy the camp with a $500,000 bond and money from an anonymous donor. But things got complicated after the donor walked away. In the months that followed, the town asked the council for extensions, which were granted.

Taking the place of the original half-million-dollar donor, two new anonymous donors then stepped up to the plate.

Town board member Benny Zlotnick said one of the new donations to Twin Rivers was contingent on youth programs being held on the property.

The New York State Sheriff’s Association, which operates a summer youth program on in the Finger Lakes, had expressed interest in running programs at Boyhaven.

The donor wanted confirmation that the Association could operate its program at the camp, according to Zlotnick.

“Their money’s been on the table was since just about the first of June, the other half-a-million dollars. What the holdup was, is the Sheriff’s Association need – and they’ve done everything they could, I’m not blaming the Sheriff’s Association at all for this – they needed time to make sure they could still run two camps. And that would take them probably until the end of September, maybe the beginning of October,” said Zlotnick.

So the town asked for another extension, but Twin Rivers wouldn’t take it.

“They just said they couldn’t do that anymore,” said Zlotnick.

Mark Switzer of Twin Rivers said the Council couldn’t delay the sale any longer.

“Yeah, so it was in our best interest to move on,” said Switzer.

The negotiations with Twin Rivers and the first anonymous donor began under former Milton town supervisor Dan Lewza and town planning board chair Larry Woolbright.

Current town supervisor Scott Ostrander, who came into the position in January, said he delegated the Boyhaven project to Zlotnick, who is a former scoutmaster.

“And he worked diligently to get it done. But unfortunately, we had our money upfront, they had our $500,000, there was $250,000 from another guy, so there’s $750,000, and unfortunately they would not give us the extension for the commitment letter, so I mean, if you want to point fingers,  I would say start looking at them,” said Ostrander.

As Twin Rivers seeks a new buyer, Switzer says the organization will take preserving green space on the 300-acre property into consideration.

“That has always been a consideration and a priority. And if fact, when we went with the Town of Milton, initially, it was because of the green space,” said Switzer.

While there has been interest expressed by other parties, Switzer said no firm contracts or agreements have developed. 

Zlotnick hopes the town can start all over.

“If things bog down or don’t get done real quick with whoever is next in line, I’d love to try again. I think it would be a fantastic idea,” said Zlotnick.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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