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$13 million expansion planned for Pa. camp

December 31, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - An 80-year-old private children's camp between Old Route 16 and Pa. 16 near Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., is in line for a $13 million makeover beginning next year, the executive director of the agency that runs the camp said Monday.

David Phillips of Baltimore-based Capital Camps said the project will take two to three years to complete once a development plan is approved and permits are obtained from Washington Township.

The camp was built in the 1920s by Morgan Levy. Capital Camps bought the 267-acre facility in 1986. It caters to about 600 children every summer from the Jewish communities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in grades 3-10. The kids spend an average of two to four weeks there in the summer.

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The camp is also available for private retreats year-round for up to 400 people at a time, Phillips said.

Capital Camps, a nonprofit organization, has 11 full-time employees including two to three who work at the camp year-round. Employment at the camp jumps to about 15 in the summer camping season.

Employment is expected to increase as a result of the renovation.

The camp's two swimming pools will be replaced by a single large pool as part of the construction project. The dozen or so cabins also will be replaced. Construction plans also call for a new dining hall, administrative building and welcome center, an environmental center and new staff housing, among other improvements.

There will be a network of hiking trails in the camp when the project is finished.

A sound absorbing system will also be built to lessen the traffic noise coming from Pa. 16. A new entrance will be built off Pa. 16.

The 3.6-acre lake will remain for boating and kayaking, Phillips said.

He said the agency considered finding another site for the camp, but decided to renovate the current facilities instead.

Capital Camps has always enjoyed excellent relationships with the Washington Township government and community in the past, Phillips said. Washington Township is also easy to reach from the metropolitan areas, he said.

Of the total, $11 million will be spent on actual construction of buildings and parking lots. The other $2 million will go into infrastructure. The camp is served by the public sewer system and public water may be added, Phillips said.

Jerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for Washington Township, said the renovation project is welcomed by the township.

"They've always been very up front with us," Zeigler said. "They're doing all that we ask of them. It's a world-class facility and we'd be foolish not to support them."

Anyone interested in applying for work or to learn more about Capital Camps can e-mail the agency at info@capitalcamps.org.

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