Community not losing hope for Camp Hope

Jul 23, 2014

After more than a year of waiting following a week-long trial last spring, the town of Canton has been named the victor once again in the legal battle for Camp Hope.

The Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the town in a 3 to 0 vote. This is a huge step in the right direction for the town leaders and community that have been fighting so hard to hold on to the historic property.

The town has spent about $203,000 on legal fees to date. But to many who remember Camp Hope from their childhood and wish to see their children and grandchildren enjoy it, the land is priceless.

On Aug. 5, the mandate from the Court of Appeals will make its way to Haywood County where the court will enter into a directed verdict in favor of the town. There is a chance the plaintiffs will file a petition for a rehearing in the Court of Appeals or file a petition for review in the Supreme Court, which would again prolong the case.

We can only hope they will see that the town and the community don’t plan on backing down and will not drag out the case any longer.

Moving forward, there is a second lawsuit from the couple making many of the same claims made in the first case. Because of the opinion from the Court of Appeals, we hope the result of the first case will have a strong impact on the second case, causing it to end in another victory for the town.

Meanwhile, the town leaders and the public are making efforts to stick with the original deed and get more and more activity humming at the camp. There have been thousands of community service and cleanup hours put in at the property. There have been mission trips from youth groups out of state, picnics, family reunions and weddings. And a second music festival fundraiser will be held there in September.

The Canton board is currently seeking people to apply for a Camp Hope Commission to help make decisions for what happens at the property from cleanup efforts to events. The board will choose nine members from the applicant list to make up the commission. Anyone who has a passion for seeing Camp Hope succeed and remain a public entity should apply to be a part of the commission or volunteer your time and talents to the cause.

There’s still a long way to go, but every little victory like this one proves more and more that Camp Hope belongs to the town and the people in this community.