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LETTER: Keep Camp Arroya in nonprofit's control

To the Editor:

Camp Arroya's focus is to serve youth, as it has been for 84 years since the city dedicated the land to Scouts in 1929. Camp Arroya Inc., formed in 1968, is in its second 25-year lease of focusing service on youth. Countless kids have learned to enjoy and care for nature in this sanctuary. The current lease, signed by then-Mayor L.B. Williams, must be extended to keep this last wooded nature area on Lake Mitchell focused on serving youth.

With a city takeover, the privacy, seclusion and youth focus (Scouts and church youth groups) would be diluted. The Board of Parks and Recreation is looking at public docking spaces. That would ruin the privacy for users. Imagine strangers wandering through your family reunion or Scout event. This is not a good physical location for boat slips because of the shoreline, the algae that collects there, the potential for vandalism of an open camp and the unprotected windy location. There are much better, more sheltered areas on the lake for such a development.

A concern for council members ought to be costs. We would like to know the cost to the city in hours and maintenance, repairs, supplies, insurance, mowing, watering, garbage collection, fencing, road and parking lot, advertising, utilities, water and sewage for the Lake Mitchell Day Camp and Sportsman's Club. Arroya is self-sustaining, a benefit to taxpayers. This year, new camp board members and leadership are moving forward with ideas for serving youth.

Arroya could use some help from the city by being included in its insurance and recreation booklet, and by having city sewer, water and road maintenance just like all the other city park areas. Especially since Arroya is self-sufficient in all other areas: utilities, booking, fee collection, supplies, repairs, maintenance, volunteer work hours, garbage collection, etc.

With the current costs to the city of Corn Palace remodeling and downtown issues, we would rather see any dollars available to spend at the lake put into algae cleanup so people who come to the lake will want to come back.