Byline: Mary Maraghy, County Line staff writer
Plans were recently unveiled for a new 225-acre camp and program center for North Florida Girl Scouts to be built on a bluff overlooking the north fork of Black Creek in Middleburg.
"We are thrilled for our girls, today, as well as the many future generations of girls who will come to enjoy this state-of-the-art facility, designed just for them," said Sandra Tysver, executive director of the Girls Scouts of Gateway Council, which serves more than 19,000 members from 16 counties in North Florida.
The new facility will be near County Road 220 and Florida 21. It will include a mile of Black Creek frontage and a variety of terrains and ecosystems. Plans include a pool, an equestrian center, nature trails, arts, history and science centers, canoeing and kayaking facilities, a ropes course, cabins and primitive camping areas with campfire locations, a variety of sports fields, a dining hall and a training center. It could cost between $25 million and $35 million. A timeline for construction is contingent upon fund-raising efforts, officials said.
The site, 3 miles south of Jennings State Forest, was once a cattle ranch and farm owned by the Towers family. The council bought it in 2002 for an undisclosed amount.
Focus groups were held to solicit input on desired amenities. The final master site plan proposal will be submitted to the council's board of directors in March.
The program center will be one of only three sites in the United States in the last 50 years to be developed from the ground up for use as a Girl Scout program center, according to Schmidt Copeland Parker Stevens, the Ohio-based architectural firm contracted for the project. …