Text and Photos by Ray Balogh
MILFORD — Blessed with a fittingly sunshiny day, executive members of Camp Alexander Mack and Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting Wednesday, May 19, for the camp’s new solar panels.
“A little over 600” panels were installed in three locations on the roofs of the welcome center and the historic former tabernacle, providing more than 9,000 square feet of surface area to capture and process sunlight to meet “80 to 100 percent” of the camp’s electrical needs, according to Gene Hollenberg, the camp’s executive director.
Camp personnel scrambled to purchase and install the panels to be grandfathered for the next 10 years into the state’s net metering program, which is scheduled for phase-out next year. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the excess electricity beyond their consumption they add to the grid.
Todd Eastis, director of development and business, estimated a cost saving of $300,000 to $400,000 over the next 10 years. The figure may be low, said Hollenberg, with anticipated inflation eventually nudging the camp’s annual electrical bill to $60,000 to $75,000.
After the ribbon cutting, Hollenberg and Eastis took chamber members and the media to view Phase 1 of the camp’s peace garden.
On Sunday, May 16, the camp hosted a public open house to celebrate some recently completed $800,000 in improvements, including a new health center, high ropes challenge course, wetlands boardwalk repair and several building upgrades.
Camp Alexander Mack invites the public to try out the new rope course from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 5. Participants must pre-register by clicking the “Challenge Course” menu option on the home page of www.campmack.org.
For more information, call (574) 658-4831 or visit www.campmack.org.