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Camp Arroyo Grande back on the market

KCBX/Bree Zender
Camp Arroyo Grande's Tabernacle, built in 1897.

The prospective buyer of the 30-acre children’s camp and retreat property Camp Arroyo Grande has backed out of the deal, and the property is once again on the market. The camp is 15 miles south of San Luis Obispo, and has hosted generations of both secular and religious campers. Many want to keep it that way.

Camp Arroyo Grande has been owned the Methodist Church since John Francis Beckett donated the property in the late 1800s. Now owned by the Pasadena, CA-based California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church - also known as Cal-Pac - the property was put up for sale last fall.

Cal-Pac said in a statement last fall the organization is selling the property because of its “reduced use and ongoing maintenance costs that present a growing financial hardship.”

According to legislative documents that discuss the sale of several church-owned camps, the Camp Arroyo Grande property presents a large potential financial return because of its prime location near Highway 101 and the Village of Arroyo Grande.

San Diego-based realtor Eric Knowles said the prospective buyer wanted to turn the property into a Christian recovery center for abused women, but the unnamed organization decided against buying the property after talking with concerned neighbors.

Ken Miles is the director of Camp Fire’s Central Coast branch, which has held children’s camps on the property for years. Miles and the branch are leading a local movement to keep the property from being developed. “We’re trying to take advantage of this second chance and rally community members,” Miles said Wednesday.

On Monday, a group called Save Camp Arroyo Grande posted a notice on its Facebook page saying “the sale of Camp Arroyo Grande fell out of escrow and the beloved campground is for sale once again. Camp Fire Central Coast is reaching out to members of the community who are interested in preserving the historical Camp Arroyo Grande for the use of future generations of youth. “

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