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Lutheran group proceeds with plans for Lakeview Springs

Public invited to Bethlehem Boulevard event
Lutheran group proceeds with plans for Lakeview Springs Lutheran group proceeds with plans for Lakeview Springs

A multi-million-dollar project, which could eventually attract thousands of visitors annually to Harrison County, could begin this winter. The plan would develop Lakeview Springs, located at the old Camp Cedarbrook site near the southeast corner of Corydon Ridge Road and Crandall-Lanesville Road north of Lanesville.

Lakeview Ministries has plans to invest up to $11.4 million into the property to provide a family-centered outdoor ministry for churches in Southern Indiana and northwestern Kentucky.

In May, Lakeview Ministries kicked off a capital campaign to secure funding for the work.

“We’re at about $1.4 million,” said Jose Beaton, director of operations for Lakeview Springs and Lakeview Ministries’ development assistant. “We’re still looking to hit $2.3 million to $2.5 million by the end of this month, which we think we’ll be able to get.”

That would be enough money to start phase one of the project, which includes running utilities to the camp’s welcome center and RV campgrounds. Lakeview Ministries tried getting Harrison County to install sewer services that would connect to Lanesville’s sewer system earlier this year. However, the $170,000 request was denied by the Harrison County Council.

“We’re not changing the plan at all based on the funds received,” Beaton said. “It simply means it is going to take longer.”

Phase one also will include renovating the camp’s welcome center and constructing a parking lot. The ministry intends to break ground on phase one this winter.

“After phase one, we will be able start bringing in those RV and tent-camping visitors,” Beaton said. “By the end of phase two, we should have a little bit of everything that we will eventually have.”

Phases two, three and four will include constructing new cabin areas, a recreation center, a new worship center, a staff residential hall, a dining hall with a commercial kitchen, a conference center and different-size ponds.

Beaton said the ministry anticipates having phase two completed approximately in the winter of 2020 or spring of 2021.

When phase one is finished, the camp could see between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors annually. When all four phases are completed, the number of people sleeping in beds could total 18,000.

“That number didn’t include daytime visitors, folks who come to use the pool, hikers or people who come for business meetings,” Beaton said.

The Lutheran Layman’s League began operating the camp in 1955. It then switched hands to the Lutheran Hour Ministries. However, the camp had fallen into disrepair, and Lutheran House Ministries decided to stop operations and considered selling the property on the open market.

Instead, Lakeview Ministries, whose operating board of directors is made up entirely of  members of a Lutheran church, was approached to purchase the property and became the owner in 2016.

“A lot of folks grew up there,” Beaton said. “I talk to folks all the time who remember before there was even a lake.”

Lakeview Ministries manages two other camps, Camp Lakeview and Lakeview Village, both in Seymour, where the ministry is headquartered.

Small operations are already taking place at Lakeview Springs, such as family reunions, graduation parties, church picnics and weddings.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, the camp will host an event called Bethlehem Boulevard. It’s a walk-through of Bethlehem, allowing visitors to see what the camp looks like now before phase one gets underway. The event will take place entirely outdoors. Costumed actors will portray everyday life of Bethlehem residents and a choir of angels will sing “Gloria” to shepherds in a field. The 20-minute walk will include some brief, 1 to 3 minute, scenes guests can watch as they take the short trail around the camp.

After the walk, visitors can warm up inside the lodge for some refreshments.