June 28, Town Hall Meeting
Note: It has come to our attention that Scout Executive, Tim McCandless has personally fired the Camp Cowles summer session kitchen manager for "being rude" at this Town Hall Meeting. Justin questioned that the "Vision for Cowles Scout Reservation" did not include Boy Scout summer camp. Justin thought that, based on the numbers he'd been told to cook for, camp attendance was high enough to justify continued scout camping sessions at Camp Cowles. Most of us in attendance noticed that Justin's numbers (confirmed by the Camp Director) were a little higher than Mr. McCandless's official attendance numbers but we noted no rudeness on Justin's part. Our best guess is that replacing Justin with Sodexho Food Services will cost the Council in the neighborhood of an additional $2,000 for the summer. (note added 7/1/06)
There was a good turn out of about 40-50 people
The meeting began with a welcome.
The Mission and Vision of the Inland Northwest Council was presented and the purpose of the meeting was redefined from "Finch Lodge: Renovate or Rebuild" to understanding how the replacement building would fit into the overall vision for the council and the camping programs..
It was stated that there should be only one
source of information about the Finch Lodge issue and it should be
There should be no
(If no decision has yet been made about demolition or restoration, It is a little confusing as to why differing information and opinion should not be available to everyone who is interested. Usually the time for speaking with one voice and getting behind a plan comes after a decision has been made.)
"A Vision for Cowles Scout Reservation" came next along with explaining a need for a cub camp.
Greg Mott was asked to give a short history of the Lodge then
present his proposal for rehabilitation.
(Note: Greg was not informed he would be speaking until after he arrived at the meeting)
The rest of the presentations belonged mostly to those already on record for demolition. Pete Smith, Eric Brown, Warren Heylman and Stacey Cowles each took a few moments to tell us that, while there were a lot of good memories there, Finch Lodge needed to be demolished in order to have a successful Cub Camp. Finch Lodge's usual list of shortcomings was cited.
The various presenters (except Greg Mott) were asked to answer. Essentially, we learned that no one knows what it would cost to renovate Finch Lodge. No one knows what it would cost to build new. The council doesn't want to pay a renovation expert to give them a rough evaluation or estimate for rehabilitation. Everyone knows (somehow) that it would cost at least 50% to 100% more to renovate than to build new. One estimate was $100.00 more per square foot to rehabilitate rather than build new. No information was given as to how these numbers were derived.
At one point the group was "brainstorming" what a new lodge should be like. Basically: rustic with roof trusses, big fireplaces, no sheetrock on the walls, maybe knotty pine. etc.
Some questions were asked about money and programs. A lot was said about retaining cubs as scouts. It was asked: couldn't the cub camp be put somewhere else on the large property and spare Finch Lodge. Answer: No, they need the waterfront. It was mentioned that a restored Finch Lodge would be a great advertisement and draw for the camp. It was noted that riding in a retro-car is not the same as riding in a classic car. Someone mentioned poor communication and not hearing about the meeting from the council. Someone else asked if the council website could host a chat feature so the discussion could continue online. Tim McCandless said he didn't know if this was technically possible.
The meeting adjourned.
Summary: everyone was assured that all comments will be passed on to the board, no decision has been made. No official presenter budged from the talking points: "Finch Lodge needs to be demolished for the future of the camp and the good of the council. The decision will be made at the July board meeting."