The City Council on Tuesday night may decide whether to support the reconstruction of the historic Izaak Walton cabin that once served as a Boy Scouts meeting site before burning down in late 1990.
The council will consider financing a portion of a reconstruction project with $130,000 in insurance money. The operators of the cabin, the Izaak Walton League, probably would have to raise money for the remainder of construction costs. The cabin was owned by the league, but the insurance was paid by the city.
Before it was destroyed by fire, the cabin in Hillcrest Park served for about 60 years as a meeting place for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and other community organizations. All that remains now is the concrete foundation.
The city estimates that rebuilding the cabin similar to the original design but in compliance with 1992 building and safety codes could carry a $400,000 price tag. The Izaak Walton League says such a cabin would cost only about $225,000.
At issue Tuesday will be whether the council should kill the cabin project and put about $80,000 fire insurance money into the city's general fund, or funnel that money back into the cabin and rely on the Izaak Walton League to raise most of the needed funds not paid by insurance. If the cabin is not rebuilt, the insurance company will pay only $80,000, but it will pay $50,000 more if the reconstruction occurs.
"The city wants it built," said Councilman A.B. (Buck) Catlin, who has attended functions and Boy Scout meetings in the cabin for many years. "But it is a question of priorities. These times are tough."
Officials said the council will probably give the Izaak Walton League a year to begin raising funds before the city commits $130,000 insurance money to it.
"To do the job right, (the Izaak Walton League) would have to raise about $75,000. I don't see how they will be able to raise that kind of money to ensure the city money is best spent."
Steve Sotnick, vice president of the nonprofit organization and former Boy Scout who used the cabin in the 1960s, believes that the cabin should be restored with the city's help.
"We are trying to do what the city hasn't been able to anymore," Sotnick said, "and that is give kids a place to go."
Sotnick said a refurbished cabin could be used by a variety of community groups for activities and meetings.
"The cabin is a perfect site for that," he said.