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Camp Arroyo Grande sale falls through

A short history of the 132-year-old Camp Arroyo Grande

The 132-year-old Camp Arroyo Grande has been in limbo for the past year, while California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (Cal-Pac) attempts to sell the property that has been home to numerous summer camps and school activ
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The 132-year-old Camp Arroyo Grande has been in limbo for the past year, while California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (Cal-Pac) attempts to sell the property that has been home to numerous summer camps and school activ

Camp Arroyo Grande is once again on the market.

The historic campsite in the center of the Village of Arroyo Grande has been in limbo for the past year, as its owner — the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (Cal-Pac) — attempted to sell the 29-acre property.

In December, the city confirmed the property was being sold to an undisclosed owner, despite attempts by the city to negotiate with Cal-Pac to preserve at least parts of the campground (namely the historical 12-sided barn known as the Tabernacle).

As of Tuesday, that sale had fallen through, according to a Facebook post by Camp Fire Central Coast — one of the groups that championed preserving the site largely because of their use of the campground each year for a summer camp.

“The sale of Camp Arroyo Grande fell out of escrow and the beloved campground is for sale once again,” the post read. “Camp Fire Central Coast is reaching out to all members of the community who are interested in preserving the historical Camp Arroyo Grande for the use of future generations of youth. As the campground has a deep-rooted Methodist history, anyone who considers themselves of the Methodist faith is encouraged to contact Camp Fire at 805-773-5126. A committee to explore the purchase of the camp will be forming soon.”

A representative of Cal-Pac did not immediately return a request for comment.

The 132-year-old campground in the heart of Arroyo Grande was put up for sale in 2016, a move that prompted outcry from those concerned that a new buyer would demolish the campground and its facilities to develop the property.

In October, the city announced it intended to negotiate a deal with Cal-Pac that would give the city time to locate a buyer who would preserve the site, or at least relocate the Tabernacle. That deal was expected to be finalized Oct. 11 but was tabled for a later meeting, to draft a new agreement from Cal-Pac that would hopefully emphasize preservation.

The deal never returned to the Arroyo Grande City Council.

Interim City Manager Bob McFall confirmed that the sale had fallen through and said the city is considering approaching Cal-Pac with a similar agreement once again, but he was unsure if it would be helpful.

“At this point, it may not serve a practical value,” he said. “The city is continuing to examine alternatives and whether the city can take some affirmative or intervening role, but I would not want anyone to get their hopes up about that, as it is a complex issue with significant costs associated with any purchase and ongoing public use.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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