Presbyterian Camps Sale Update – December 2013

God’s blessings in the Advent and Christmas seasons!  This is an update on recent decisions concerning the sale of Presbyterian Camps.

In late 2012, Chicago Presbytery authorized a contract with Mr. David Barker, a land developer in Western Michigan, for his purchase of Presbyterian Camps in Saugatuck, Michigan. Since then, Presbytery leaders and staff have been working with our realtor, lawyer, banker, and Mr. Barker toward completing the sale by December 20, 2013. For a number of reasons, this timeline was overly ambitious. Although the Saugatuck Planning Commission has approved Mr. Barker’s plans for the property, and he has agreed to the Commission’s contingencies, it is now clear for reasons beyond either Mr. Barker’s or the Presbytery’s control that the closing cannot happen before year’s end.

At the November 16, 2013 Presbytery Assembly meeting, authority was granted to the Presbytery Coordinating Commission (PCC, formerly the Presbytery Council) to extend the contract with Mr. Barker until February 28, 2014, if necessary. Subsequently on December 10, at the request of Mr. Barker and on recommendation of the Presbytery Reformation Task Force, the PCC acted to extend the contract with him to January 31, 2014. This extension includes Mr. Barker’s agreement to pay the January interest charges on the Presbytery’s loan with US Bank. PCC hopes this extension will allow time to finalize the sale.

In addition, during the summer and fall the Presbytery was approached by another prospective buyer of the Camps property, the Oval Beach Preservation Society (OBPS). This Western Michigan-based group made a back-up offer, which could become viable if the contract with Mr. Barker fails. Now that the Planning Commission has approved Mr. Barker’s plan, PRTF and PCC feel the Presbytery can more freely communicate with OBPS, since public knowledge about this would no longer influence the Planning Commission’s deliberations. Therefore, the PCC acted further on December 10 to authorize PRTF and the Presbytery’s real estate broker to enter into conversation with OBPS to ascertain its plans, financing, timing, etc. We emphasize this conversation is about a back-up offer to the Barker contract. The contract extension period will afford the presbytery time to engage this conversation.


Rev. Mike Youngblood, Moderator of Presbytery Coordinating Commission
Rev. Greg Bostrom, Moderator of Presbytery Reformation Task Force
Rev. Bob Reynolds, Executive Presbyter

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