CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The sale of a boy scout camp in southern Chesterfield has been delayed as the national organization awaits a ruling in their bankruptcy trial.
The Heart of Virginia Council, which manages scouting organizations in Central Virginia, announced the sale on May 19. The proceeds of the sale will go to fund their share of a national trust to pay damages to victims of sexual abuse.
“We are fully committed to supporting the victim’s trust fund,” the council wrote in a statement. “This past year, we have reviewed all resources available to make this payment that will allow us to save Scouting while continuing to serve families in Central Virginia.”
Although the council formally put the 568-acre riverfront property — called Albright Scout Reservation — up for sale last November, a spokesperson for the council told 8News that delays in the national bankruptcy trial lead to delays in considering the offers they received.
“It was expected that the closing arguments would take place in January,” the spokesperson said. “However, those were extended through to late April.”
They added that the property was now under contract with a buyer, but that the contract had not yet been closed on.
The Chesterfield Observer reported that the buyer was George Emerson, a Richmond-based developer which lists Carrie Coyner, a Republican member of the House of Delegates for Chesterfield, as its agent in state corporate filings.
Although the council couldn’t confirm details of the sale to 8News, they said Emerson intended to “retain Albright’s agricultural zoning” — meaning it could not be developed into dense housing tracts.
The official Facebook page of the Albright Scout Reservation announced the sad news in a post on May 26, drawing farewell messages from dozens of people who attended the camp, either as scouts or adult volunteers.
“What a huge disappointment,” Steve Kaminski wrote. “What a beautiful place where I spent leading Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts on so many outings.”
“Our troop has had so many wonderful memories and adventures here,” Cyndee Dragoo wrote. “It is so sad that our new Scouts will not be able to experience it.”
Others expressed anger that the council decided to sell the camp to a private developer instead of to the “Friends of Albright Committee” — a group the Chesterfield Observer reported put in a competing bid which was soundly rejected by the council.
“Unfortunately, our Board chose to act like businessmen without regard to the scouts the program is for,” Jim Young wrote.
The Albright Scout Reservation responded to Young’s comment, decrying the council’s decision to reject the competing offer, “It does not seem to be very ‘Scout Like’ to be making back room deals, doing under the table or in the closet negotiations that are not open and transparent.”
The council has insisted that they did their due diligence in evaluating the offers made to them, despite concerns raised by rank and file membership.
“The board met for 4 ½ hours considering each offer,” the council wrote in a statement. “Everyone was given the chance to speak. Then there was a secret ballot, and the result was overwhelmingly to sell the entire property.”
The property is now closed to new camping reservations, with existing reservations after August 21, 2022 being refunded.