Press-Republican

Local News

July 5, 2014

Camp Hamachane opening pushed to 2015

GABRIELS — New owners of what once was Camp Gabriels prison say its redevelopment into a summer camp won’t happen this year.

This spring, Rabbi Eli Hersch presented plans for Camp Hamachane, an Orthodox Jewish summer camp for children from the greater New York City area.

Hersch said they ran into legal snags as work got underway to restore the property.

“We will not be opening this summer,” Hersch told the Press-Republican by telephone.

“God willing, we should be able to open next summer. We ran into a few legal issues, and we will not be able to finish all the things we had to do, fixing up everything that has to be fixed up to be ready.”

TITLE INSURANCE

Hersch would not elaborate further on the legal issues, and his attorney, Michael Hill, referred questions back to Hersch. 

But minutes from the June Town of Brighton Town Council meeting indicate the sale has not yet gone through due to concerns about title insurance because the property is in the Adirondack Park.

“Supervisor Peter Shrope said he heard from Sen. Betty Little concerning this property. The sale has not gone through because the purchaser, Let’s Camp LLC, is having difficulty getting title insure due to the property being in the Adirondack Park and under Article 14 of the Constitution,” the minutes say. 

“Some groups think the property should be reverted to state land since the state owned it.”

The question of land-use classification was raised at a public hearing in January 2011, when Brighton considered buying the Camp Gabriels site.

At the time, the APA indicated the land use would revert from State Administrative to Moderate Intensity, the designation in force when Paul Smith’s College owned the property. When the college sold the land to New York, some 200 acres were subdivided and added to the state Forest Preserve.

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