By Gary Lloyd
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton offered to purchase Camp Coleman in March, he said last week.
The oldest Girl Scouts camp in the state of Alabama is set to close May 31.
Melton said he believes the 140-acre camp appraised for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.1 million or $2.2 million. The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama website shows that the camp appraised for $2.1 million. Melton “threw out” a $700,000 figure, subject to Trussville City Council approval, to purchase the camp, which has operated since 1925.
The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama rejected that offer, Melton said.
“I tried to work out a deal with them, and they weren’t interested,” Melton said. “I was trying to find a way to keep the camp open and keep Girl Scout camping there. They just wanted to liquidate it.”
Melton said once the camp closes May 31, someone or a company would have to buy the land to determine what’s going to be there. He said there would probably be “just a handful of folks” who would be interested in keeping it as a camp.
Melton said should the camp not sell, the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama “might come back and revisit” selling the property to the city.
“I just don’t know,” Melton said.
Melton said the property would be an “absolute great” place for Trussville Parks and Recreation since there is no green space or park property on that side of Trussville.
At the May 9, 2012, Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama Board of Directors meeting, a 13-4 board vote approved of divesting the Camp Coleman property as part of Phase 2 of the group’s property plan. Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama Director of Communication and Advocacy Hilary Perry said just 5 percent of the 15,000 Girl Scouts members attend camp, a “very, very low amount,” she said.
In December, Friends of Camp Coleman President Sarah Edwards filed a petition for pre-suit discovery against the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama regarding the three-phase property plan.
“The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama has done nothing wrong in making this decision,” the GSNCA says on its website
. “We have consistently promised to keep our membership informed as we move forward.”
In February, the GSNCA formally responded to the discovery requests as the result of Edwards’ lawsuit. The GSNCA staff spent 339 hours searching for and gathering 10,945 pages of documents in response to the discovery requests. GSNCA requested to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses that took away from its mission of serving girls — $50 per hour for staff time ($16,950) and $.50 per page ($5,472.50) — before the actual documents were produced to Edwards and her attorneys, Bradford & Ladner. The official response can be found at www.girlscoutsnca.org/property.
There are approximately 250 Girl Scouts in Trussville, and 39,936 boxes of cookies were sold this year, according to facts provided by Perry. Camp Coleman last June was favorably reviewed and listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage by the Alabama Historical Commission.
Girl Scouts will be participating in Saturday’s Earth Day cleanup in Trussville and will do the same the weekend of Trussville City Fest on May 3-4. On May 5, Girl Scout Troop 163 will be at Northpark Baptist Church in Trussville for a cupcake event.
GSNCA Community Development Manager Brandy Key said the 25 Girl Scouts she leads at the Paine schools campus this semester have been learning about recycling, making bracelets out of pop tops and necklaces out of old washers. The last club day of the semester for the Girl Scouts with Key is May 16.
For more information about Camp Coleman, visit www.girlscoutsnca.org/camps/camp-coleman.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.