DECEMBER 28, 2002
Camp likely to be sold after '03

by: Ken Lahmers

Bainbridge - The YMCA of Greater Cleveland's board voted last Thursday to keep the Centerville Mills Camp open in 2003, but it likely will be sold sometime thereafter.

One of the bidders for the land may very well be the Bainbridge Township government.

With a loss of about $1 million this year, the YMCA likely will sell the 100-year-old, 160-acre camp to improve its financial picture, board Vice Chairman James Petras said.

The YMCA will provide membership services at its Glenville and West Side branches for another year while it develops a plan focusing on how to best serve the community.

If the camp is placed on the market, Bainbridge Township trustees have indicated they are interested in obtaining it. A value of $1.8 million has been placed on the land.

There have been no negotiations with the YMCA, said Bainbridge Trustee Sam Desiderio. Any talk of buying the property is very preliminary at this stage.

However, he noted the camp would fit in nicely with the township's master plan for recreation, which he explained includes a community center, walking trails and bike paths.

At a rally Dec. 16 at the camp, Trustee Charles Hesse informed the crowd of the township's interest in the property.

U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette and state Rep. Dean DiPiero also vowed to do what they can to see the camp continues to serve Northeast Ohio's children and families.

There's a real value to leaving it as it is rather than selling it to a developer, said Desiderio. And we're willing to collaborate with other agencies to preserve it.

We'd hope the YMCA board recognizes what we're trying to do and gives us some consideration, rather than just selling it to the highest bidder.

If the YMCA is really committed to children and families, hopefully it will be willing to take less money for the camp than what it could get from a developer.


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