By Pam Harnden, Livermore Falls Advertiser
LIVERMORE — Representatives from a New Hampshire-based children’s camp presented the Planning Board on Wednesday night with its vision to redevelop Maple Lane Golf Course into an overnight and day camp for aspiring artists.
The Portsmouth-based company has been operating camps in Maine, New Hampshire and Hawaii for more than 20 years. It’s seeking a permanent home in Maine within a three-hour drive from the New Hampshire seacoast. Over 60 percent of campers are from that region.
Camp founders are Alexis and Steven Dascoulias.
“It’s a very special type of camp we run, achieving excellence through the arts,” Tom Allen, Alexis’ father, said.
Michael Rogers with Maine Real Estate Network said Kurt Youland owns the golf course.
Camp representatives provided a five-page letter outlining information about the company, its history and plans for the golf course.
2019 would be the first year of operation, they said. The camp would host three 12-day programs. In year three, it would host four 12-day programs and one one-week camp program. By year five, it would host 90 to 100 campers in each of its four 12-day programs, and 60 to 70 campers in two six-day shoulder-season programs.
By 2023, Camp CenterStage proposes to have built 12 seasonal cabins for 10 people each.
There would be a new septic system for lavatories and showers for boys and girls.
Also planned are an infirmary and art studio space, a dance studio, two additional classroom-type cabins, an outdoor pavilion and a gathering lodge hall that will seat 300.
The owners plan to build a year-round home on the property.
All buildings will be seasonal and one story.
The camp would host no more than 130 people at any given time.
Updates and improvements will be made to the clubhouse/restaurant building.
Camp CenterStage also plans to plant trees and create a camp with eco-friendly practices such as composting, gardening and recycling. Only refillable water bottles will be used.
Realtor Rogers said there would be four boys’ cabins and seven girls’ cabins.
Personnel would be hired locally.
Planning Board member Ben Guild asked if they had looked at other properties and what attracted them to the golf course at 295 Maple Lane.
“We looked at 12,” Allen said. “The existing infrastructure already there is very important.”
“It’s similar to Camp Wekeela in Hartford,” Youland said. “It brings quite a bit of revenue into that community.”
Code Enforcement Officer Travis Tardif said Camp CenterStage would be licensed and inspected by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Planning Board member Kathy Perkins said it sounds like a wonderful plan.
“The golf course is probably shutting down anyway,” Youland said. “This is the best thing that’s come along.”
Following the presentation, Planning Board member Justin Shink said he would like to see a dry hydrant installed.
Rogers asked that the camp proposal be placed on the agenda for the next Planning Board meeting, which is usually the fourth Wednesday of the month.