Camp Courageous plans for re-zoning

Due to signage needs, Camp Courageous is seeking to re-zone various parcels (in green) from A-Agricultural to C2-Commercial Highway. The areas in yellow will remain Ag. The parcels in orange indicate Camp has the first right of refusal. (Illustration submitted)
Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The need to replace a sign is now forcing Camp Courageous to re-zone a portion of its property outside Monticello from A-Agricultural to C2-Highway Commercial.

     Camp Director Charlie Becker was present at the March 27 Jones County Supervisor meeting to update the board on the happenings at Camp Courageous and discuss the need to re-zone.

     “Until Camp was interested in replacing a sign, far within Camp property and needed approval, did Camp realize it is incorrectly zoned,” Becker said in his accompanying letter to the Jones County Planning & Zoning Commission.

     Land Use Administrator Michele Lubben said a date has not been set for the re-zoning hearing. Becker just wanted to bring the supervisors up to speed.

     Since Camp Courageous first opened its doors in 1974, the number of campers they served in that period of time has gone from just over 200 to nor over 8,000.

     The facility as a whole as also changed so much in the past 44 years, with the most recent addition being the Durgin Pavilion. The pavilion was a $3 million project.

     Another recent project was improvements to Camp’s wastewater treatment plant, which is a state-of-the-art facility that more than meets their needs. This was an estimated $750,000 project.

     Camp Courageous has gone from five buildings when it first opened to 26 today.

     “We try to use as many local people as possible,” said Becker of hiring and working with area contractors.

     The amount of staff members has also increased; the more campers and facilities, the more staff that are needed. In the summer of 1974 they had 12 staff members. Today, Camp sees about 50 year-round staff members and over 100 during the summers.

     Staff not only lives in Monticello, but in neighboring communities like Anamosa and Morley.

     “Our staff are really engaged in their communities and the county,” Becker said.

     Becker shared that an estimated 90 percent of Camp Courageous’ income comes from outside of Jones County. However, about 90 percent of that is spent within the county.

     Camp is also a community service. They serve as an emergency backup for various businesses in Jones County such as Jones Regional Medical Center, nursing homes, and schools due to Camp’s backup generator, nursing staff, housing options and food.

     Many of Camp’s facilities are used by the community: indoor heated swimming pool for lessons and public swimming, and bus outings for nursing home residents.

     “We are really into giving back generously,” spoke Becker. “And we’re looking at continued growth.”

     There are five different parcels Camp Courageous is proposing to re-zone C2 from Ag. Becker said as people donate money to Camp for naming rights, they would like to erect signage signifying that donation. As an Ag district, signage is almost impossible.

     “We need to go to C2 in order to do that,” he said.

     When asked about any big projects in the works, Becker informed the board that they’re planning to install solar panels on the indoor pool and gym facilities to cut down on utilities. They also plan to build a new maintenance building to combine all of the smaller shops together throughout the grounds.

     “We’ll have the welding, machine shop, and carpentry all under one roof,” he said.



Subscriber Login