Legislators question grant application for Camp Zerbe

by Carol Thompson

A grant application seeking funds for the repair of a lodge at Camp Zerbe that would require Oswego County taxpayers to kick in 25 percent of the cost was questioned during Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature.

“I still remain extremely concerned over this,” Legislator Jim Karasek said. “Even when the project is completed, it still won’t have heat and water.”

Oswego County Youth Bureau Director Kathleen Fenlon requested permission to apply for a grant not to exceed $349,419 to repair the ailing lodge. The old Adirondack-style lodge, built around the mid 1940s, consists of a large room that features a fireplace at each end, a kitchen and a large front porch that overlooks Lake Lorraine. The county has never used the lodge.

Fenlon suggested that the lodge could be used by various outdoor sports organizations, family gatherings, weddings, business meetings and group retreats on a user fee basis.

Contracts will be developed with one or more local businesses to provide catering.

Karasek maintained that the lack of heat and water would not garner much demand for events such as weddings and he did not feel a business would cater to a location with no water.

“I can’t support this,” Karasek said.

Legislator Amy Tresidder said she, too, could not support the resolution because it would be an ongoing expense.

Legislator Jake Mulcahey noted that the local share would be approximately $116,000.

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