BREWSTER — A nonprofit group’s vision for purchasing the Cape Cod Sea Camps (CCSC) property on Route 6A has taken a significant step towards reality.
The Brewster Flats Foundation (BFF) announced this month that it has partnered with Hale, a venerable camp in Westwood and Dover that offers youth, family, and school-organized recreation programs, in its effort to purchase one of the CCSC parcels. Hale was established in 1918 and serves more than 15,000 children and families from 70 Greater Boston communities, according to its website.
Jim Fay, president of the BFF, said this week that there has been increasing interest from the public about the future of the Sea Camps property ever since the foundation was established eight months ago. Hale and the BFF agreed to a partnership in early July.
“We were able to learn about each other’s mission and see how wonderfully well aligned the values are between Hale and BFF,” Fay said Monday. “We need things like this partnership with Hale to help everyone else come along and recognize that we are real.”
The CCSC operated as a summer children’s camp for 99 years on its 55-acre property on Route 6A and a second 70-acre site on Long Pond in Brewster. The Delahanty family, which has owned the camp since its founding, announced last year that the camp would be closing for good.
Hale and BFF plan to deliver an offer to purchase the Route 6A parcel based on a fair-market valuation study completed in June by Stantec, an engineering firm, and funded by supporters in the local community and the CCSC alumni network. Hale and BFF are hoping to return educational and camping programs to the site as early as summer 2022.
Fay said the BFF has secured more than $1.6 million in pledges toward a new goal of $10 million. That’s exponentially more than in April, when the Independent reported that the BFF had raised less than $25,000.
Although it’s not certain that $10 million is the magic number, Fay said, “Everybody needs a target to aim for. We’re fundraising for something we don’t even own yet, which lends itself to some hesitancy and skepticism.”
Support from the local community has been strong, however. People who make pledges on the BFF website can leave messages, and Fay said some of them are emotionally charged.
One message from an anonymous donor read: “As a teacher, I recognize how vital this resource is to our children and community. We need this natural wonderland more than ever. I would be devastated to see this land developed but even more so for future generations who would look back at us with tears in their eyes because we could’ve saved it.”
Keen-Summit Capital Partners, in conjunction with Phoenix Capital Resources, both based in New York City, have been retained by the Delahantys to sell the two Cape Cod waterfront properties, which are listed on Keen-Summit’s website.
“These properties are incomparable and nothing like them has been available in the past and unlikely ever to be available in the future,” the website states.
“We are going to be hard pressed to outcompete developer dollars,” Fay said.
Hale and BFF are looking to work “with local and regional government agencies, conservation organizations, and community members to build a sustainable future that ensures children and the community may forever come together to play, grow, and learn in a safe and inclusive community,” according to a BFF press release.
The collaboration with Hale is the first of what the BFF hopes will be multiple partnerships, particularly in the conservation world.
“The proof is in the perception of the community,” Fay said. “We need people to realize that this is real, and centered on a humanitarian solution around this land.”
Fay said the organizations are actively supporting an open space conservation solution for the Long Pond parcel and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate to deliver programming at the Long Pond waterfront as well as the property on Cape Cod Bay.
The Sea Camps properties listing is at keen-summit.com. For more about Hale or the BFF, visit hale1918.org/camps or brewsterflatsfoundation.org.