The Presbytery of Chicago assembly voted Feb. 8 to sell the Presbyterian Camps in Saugatuck to a developer for $10 million.
Acting in closed session Saturday, the assembly voted 154 to 89 to approve an amended contract selling the camps to Dune Ridge SA, LP—a private equity firm fronted by David Barker and funded by Paulus C. Heule of Grand Rapids—for $9 million down on closing, with the balance due in 18 months.
Closing on the 130-acre Lake Michigan-fronting parcel at 631 Perryman St., a church camp since 1899, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14.
Members accepted the Barker-Heule bid over a conservation group’s later-arriving $8 million pledge-based offer, with $1 million down, which leaders called well-meaning but shy of funds and uncertain.
“Sadly,” said the PoC afterwards on its website, “the Presbytery’s century-long ministry at Presbyterian Camps has concluded its final chapter. In time, and by the grace of God, a future camping vision will be cast by church and Presbytery leaders that builds on the foundation of this long and fruitful ministry.”
Members of Lakeshore Christian Camping, a nonprofit group formed by past campers who hoped to save the camps, voiced sadness differently.
“The Presbytery” they said in a statement, “has chosen development over land conservation, money over children. Instead of building up community, they have torn it apart.”