Shawnee County Parks and Recreation officials said Thursday they had met with the regional Girl Scouts council about potential for purchasing Camp Daisy, but time constraints forced the county to decline to make an offer on the property.
Joan Wagnon, a former Topeka mayor and former treasurer for Girl Scouts of the USA, said the Friends of Camp Daisy Hindman facilitated discussions between Shawnee County and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri council about a potential purchase of the 155-acre property near Dover. The beloved camp closed late last year.
Parks and Rec officials said the two sides first met Nov. 30 to explore the county’s interest. A purchase price of more than $500,000 was suggested, said Parks and Rec spokesman Mike McLaughlin.
The council needed an answer quickly, McLaughlin said.
“Many factors, including the time constraints that it faces, have caused the county to decline at this time to make an offer to purchase the property,” the parks department said in a statement.
The statement also said the department couldn’t present a formal recommendation to county commissioners without thoroughly researching and developing an operational plan that would sustainably fund both the property purchase and ongoing operations.
“Such an operational plan would have to ensure that we could operate Camp Daisy Hindman in a manner that would not draw resources away from our present parks and facilities,” the department said.
Wagnon said she was disappointed by the decision. Parks and Rec officials had indicated that if the county were to purchase the camp, they were willing to work with Friends of Camp Daisy to develop programming for Girl Scouts to continue to camp there, as well as the general public.
The regional Girl Scouts council announced last September it would end activities at Camp Daisy on Nov. 30 with plans to sell the property, citing low attendance and lack of funding. The announcement sparked a public outcry, and Wagnon said she has continued to receive questions about the camp’s future.
Since the announcement, Wagnon said, Friends of Camp Daisy explored several options to ensure the property remained a community asset and that Girl Scouts could continue to use it. She said the camp has been in use since the 1930s, when Daisy Hindman talked to landowners and assembled seven parcels of land for a camp.
An additional 55 acres were purchased and added to the original 100 acres when Wagnon led the local Kaw Valley council. The camp has primitive camp sites, cabins and a small lake, and with significant improvements made over the past several years, Wagnon said, its supporters are anxious to see the property remain in public rather than private use.
Wagnon said she attended a Girl Scouts meeting earlier this week in which the council indicated that if Shawnee County didn’t make an offer on Camp Daisy, it would soon place the property on the market.