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Apopka City Council votes 4-1 to purchase Camp Wewa

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By Reggie Connell, Managing Editor

The Apopka City Council voted 4-1 to approve and execute the purchase and sale agreement of Camp Wewa at their Wednesday meeting. The City paid $4.7 million after a second appraisal revealed additional developable lands - thus increasing its value.

Commissioner Doug Bankson was the lone dissenting vote.

"For me, going up another half million... that's money that was going to pay down the $4.2 million," Bankson said during an earlier Council discussion. "And when I look at the valuation, well I just struggle with it. I think it's being stretched to meet their side of things."

Bankson, who voted against the purchase at that meeting also, said his reasons didn't change.

"Same reason as last time. I vote nay. But I'm an enthusiastic supporter, and I think it will succeed."

The Apopka City Council voted 5-0 back in March to purchase Camp Wewa from the YMCA, which has owned the property since 1947.

Along with the purchase price, costs to upgrade the property to ADA compliance, convert well water to city water, and change its septic system to sewer would cost approximately $250,000, plus an additional $150,000 in improvements, according to an estimate by City staff. In total, an additional $3 million is expected to be paid by the City over the next five years for improvements, repairs, and operational expenses to the camp.

However, Nelson announced potential help with the upgrade costs, and an opportunity for Apopka residents to volunteer.

"Just to let you know, after the vote tonight, Lowe's is trying to schedule something for the first two weeks in September to completely renovate Camp Wewa," he said. "I'll be reaching out to Wekiva and Apopka High for kids who need their community service hours, and community leaders, and The Friends of Camp Wewa to come out."

He also announced possibly the first major customer to the Camp.

"It's kind of interesting. We had a call come in [to the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce] from Finfrock. They want to rent Camp Wewa right out of the gate. They'll have 1,000 people."

The YMCA of Central Florida released a statement illustrating their gratitude for the deal.

“The YMCA of Central Florida is delighted the City of Apopka has agreed to purchase and preserve the treasured property where the Y held Camp Wewa for over 70 years.”

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