Catt County IDA to assist camp site plan

September 20, 2012 Updated Sep 20, 2012 at 7:42 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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September 20, 2012 Updated Sep 20, 2012 at 7:42 AM EDT

As expected, the County of Cattaraugus Industrial Development Agency's directors have offered their help with a developer who wants to turn the former Camp Lakeland property into an upscale camping resort.

The directors, during their Sept. 18 meeting, agreed that the agency should take the lead on a mandated environmental review and hold a public hearing on incentives being offered to developer John Hutchins. The directors are expected to vote on the incentives when they meet in October.

"This is a very important project," said Corey Wiktor, IDA executive director. "Whatever we can do to help John, we will."

Hutchins who wants to invest more than $4 million to turn the former summer camp into a year round "glamorous camping" destination, dubbed The Woods at Bear Creek Family Resort.

Hutchins bought the sprawling 750-acre parcel from the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo, which operated Camp Lakeland until it closed in 2008. Hutchins paid $1.3 million for the property last year.

Plans call for renovating the cabins on the former Camp Lakeland property into upscale overnight units while the property will feature such amenities as 14 miles of nature trails, an Olympic-sized pool, basketball and tennis courts and horseback riding.

Upscale outdoor tent facilities will also be available.

The project is the first of several phases with later ones including a high-end RV park developed.

Hutchins, who also operates the Rapids Theater in Niagara Falls, may also stage outdoor concerts at the venue.

He expects the bulk of the Woods at Bear Creek Family Resort to operate during all 12 months.

The project will create 40 full and part time jobs initially, according to IDA documents.

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