SWANNANOA, N.C. (AP) - A local foundation has bought the Billy Graham Evangelical Association's summer camp here for $5 million and plans to revive the facility with a similar religious focus.
The Peter J. Fontaine Foundation announced Wednesday that it purchased the camp and about 300 acres of land just east of Asheville in December. The foundation wants to reopen the area this summer under the name Camp Cedar Cliff, maintaining focus on evangelism and traditional summer camp activities.
"My kids had gone to Cove Camp. It was an important part of their lives," said Peter Fontaine, the foundation's president. "We decided to pick up that torch and continue that particular mission field."
About 2,000 kids usually attended Cove Camp during four months in the summer. The Graham association stopped offering the summer camp last year but still used the site for retreats, former Cove Camp director Hugh Wright said.
The Graham association will finance part of the sale with a $3 million loan to Fontaine's nonprofit that must be repaid next year, according to the deed for the site.
Fontaine, an entrepreneur from Florida who lives with his wife and four children in Asheville, said he became interested in the summer camp business when he heard Cove Camp had closed.
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