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Ohio


Nonprofit groups still hope to buy one Northeast Ohio Girl Scout camp
The closures and sales spawned protests and court fights
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
A group trying to buy the closed Girl Scout camp hopes its history will draw donors.
Courtesy of Friends of Crowell/Hilaka
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A group that fought the closing of Girl Scout camps in northeast Ohio is trying to raise roughly $4 million in about a month to buy one of them. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that a similar deal for another camp has already fallen through.

LISTEN: Uncertain future for Girl Scout camps

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The nonprofit group Friends of Crowell/Hilaka is trying to work through the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to buy the more than 300 acres near Richfield.

Over protests – and a court battle -- the Girl Scout Council of Northeast Ohio put Crowell/Hilaka and three other camps up for sale two years ago. It promised to use the proceeds to upgrade the three camps it’s keeping open.

Lynn Richardson was among those fighting the sales, and says the Friends group has a plan to make Crowell/Hilaka economically viable. She hopes the history of the place – which was originally the home of Kirby vacuum cleaner inventor Jim Kirby – makes it of interest to donors.

“He’s got a mill that generated electricity before Richfield was electrified. H’s got a dance hall that was built on street care springs and the floor moves when you’re walking on it. His house had a very early form of air conditioning that ran by spring water going over the roof to cool things down and the lake there was patented.”

The Western Reserve Land conservancy had reached a tentative deal to purchase another camp, Lejnar in Lake County. But that fell through, and the Girl Scout council sold the property this month to a private individual. The council also approved a bid this month for the Great Trails camp in Carroll County. Details on that are still being worked out. 

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