Toms River officials are slowly planning for future uses of the Jersey Shore Boy Scouts Council building, adjacent to Camp Albocondo, which could be utilized for recreation space.
The township council last week agreed to continue to allow a Pentecostal church to continue meeting at the building, located on Ridgeway Road in the westernmost portion of town. The township purchased the four-acre site, which includes a headquarters building, for $1.1 million last year.
“Now that we own the property, we’re going to continue letting them use it on Sundays, so it’s just a simple lease agreement,” said Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill.
For now, the primary user of the site will continue to be the Boy Scouts of America. Toms River purchased the building after the Jersey Shore council was forced to sell the property to fulfill a national court order that had no nexus with local scouting. Each BSA council has a legal obligation to help satisfy the terms of a national, class-action lawsuit against the BSA, and the Route 571 property was one the BSA could sell to meet that obligation, officials said. The township had always looked to keep the Boy Scouts in the building while setting a long-term plan.
“The Boy Scouts are going to be there for the next three years, at least,” said Hill. “But we could use it for recreational uses, too. It’s a nice facility.”
Hill envisions canoeing and kayaking at the site, among other recreational activities, since the upper branches of the Toms River flow through the area. The Boy Scout property is also located adjacent to Camp Albocondo, which is now under township ownership.
Both the Boy Scout site and Camp Albocondo were slated for residential development. The Boy Scouts approached the township about a sale after developers proposed their own offers for the site.