Lodge project hits snag; $25,000 needed


HANCOCK COUNTY — A $150,000 project to build a new lodge for a local nonprofit youth camp has been delayed by lack of funding.

Wood framing was hoisted into place this week, and other supplies are on hand and waiting to become part of the approximately $150,000 new lodge at a nonprofit youth camp southeast of Greenfield. But the latest addition to Nameless Creek Youth Camp won’t open this summer as officials hoped.

Construction on the 3,600-square-foot lodge at Nameless Creek Youth Camp, a 12.7-acre facility that hosts youth camps, family reunions and Boy and Girl Scout troop events, has been delayed several times in the past few months; the project is now expected to be finished by the end of this year, said Nameless Creek board vice president Benny Eaton.

The project is expected to cost $20,000 to $25,000 more than the original $150,000 estimate.

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When construction began two weeks ago, camp officials realized the planned septic system for the lodge was much too small for the size of the building, said youth camp president Jerry Bell, and board members did not include in their plans the cost of new furniture for the lodge.

Nameless Creek Youth Camp’s fundraising committee members are in the process of determining the best way to raise the last $25,000 they need for the finishing touches on the building, Bell said. Some ideas include selling a book about the founder of the camp, Tubby Toms, the camp itself and Blue River Township by local historian Joe Skvarenina and constructing a donor wall at the lodge, but Bell said camp officials wish to develop an annual major fundraiser to create a steady source of funding.

The lodge project has been in the works since 2014, when Eaton brought a proposal to the Greenfield Sertoma Club asking for funding to build a 20-by-30 addition to the camp’s existing kitchen building. Once the idea developed into a new lodge, Sertoma members decided to contribute $10,000 toward the project. Officials broke ground in 2016 but faced delays when Nameless Creek officials discovered the land’s agricultural zoning didn’t allow for construction of the event center, which will hold more some 140 people.

They have since received a special exception to build.

While fundraising ideas still are in the works, board members are excited by the progress they’ve seen so far.

“We’re excited by all the possibilities this new building offers,” Eaton said. “Our main focus is young people, families and church groups, but this building can accommodate business meetings and seminars as well. We are able to appeal to a wider audience.”

Sertoma Club president Kim Polizotto said the club has chosen to support the camp throughout the years because there are few places in Hancock County with the offerings of the organization, such as the annual Plug Into Nature camp especially for third- through fifth-graders who might not otherwise be able to attend summer camp.

“We saw a need for a facility like this in the community, and it was a way for Nameless Creek to expand its services,” Polizotto said. “We wanted to continue our support and see it grow even more.”