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May 8, 2014

Beverly agrees to buy Camp Paradise

$950,000 sale hinges on state, CPA funding

BEVERLY — The city has reached an agreement in principle to buy the Camp Paradise Girls Scouts camp for $950,000.
Mayor Mike Cahill said the agreement with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts is contingent on the city getting funding from a state grant and from the city’s Community Preservation Committee.
“It would be a great resource for the city,” Cahill said.
Camp Paradise is a 12-acre wooded site on Cole Street that includes a lodge building and a pond. The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts has owned the camp since 1963 but decided last June to sell it, saying it is one of the least used of its 27 properties.
Cahill said the city appraised the property at $550,000, and the Girls Scouts appraised it at $1.4 million. The two sides agreed to a third appraisal, which came in at $950,000.
A spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts confirmed that the organization has agreed on the sale price and is waiting for the city to come up with the funding.
The city is hoping to pay for the property with a $500,000 state grant and $450,000 in Community Preservation Act money. The CPA, which Beverly voters approved in 2012, imposes a 1 percent surcharge on property taxes to create a fund for open space, recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing projects.
The city’s Community Preservation Committee last week received 14 final applications for funding, including the request by the city for Camp Paradise. Cahill said the city would borrow the $450,000 and pay off the bond with money that the committee would agree to set aside each year.
The city also requested CPA funding for five smaller projects, including upgrades to the carriage house and restrooms at Lynch Park, a new spray park at Lynch Park, repairs to the Dane Street Beach bathhouse and restoration of historical records at City Hall.

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