Read original story by Phil Gomez at KSBW
BOULDER CREEK, Calif. —
Efforts to rebuild a special camp for children and adults with challenges are facing their own set of challenges.
Camp Krem in Boulder Creek was one of many victims in the CZU fire.
The landscape hasn’t changed much since our last visit to Camp Krem, located in Boulder Creek more than a year ago.
Construction costs have soared and bureaucratic red tape has slowed rebuilding.
“We were optimistic when we thought two to five years. Ten years looks more realistic than five and $20 million looks more realistic than $5 million.”
The executive director of the camp, Alex Krem feels the frustration of trying to rebuild something that has been a part of the Santa Cruz Mountain community for 64 years.
All but one of the structures were destroyed and as they wait to rebuild construction costs have skyrocketed.
“Fortunately, we are eligible for FEMA that’s huge, good news. It comes with a price tag and that is that every ‘I’ has to be dotted twice. Every ‘T’ has to be crossed twice. We’re making progress with their help and with the wonderful help of the California Office of Emergency Services; Cal O.E.S. which acts as a champion of ours to FEMA,” Krem said.
They’ve opened another campsite near Yosemite while they await permits and funding.
There were 300 campers enrolled compared to the 800 who would fill out the Boulder Creek site.
“Families are so anxious to have a place for their child and the children are so anxious to get out of their house,” Krem said.
Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Stickney used to attend Camp Krem and now goes to the Tahoe location
His family says it’s been a positive part of their lives.
“Daniel would go to camp, two times in the summer and reached nothing but independence and coming back always with a higher form of a smile,” said Dyer Stickney, Daniel’s dad.
As Alex surveys the 100 acres of property, he wonders if they can rebuild exactly what was lost or whether they’ll have to scale back.
“We call this project Phoenix and we are hoping to arise from the ashes.”
The burn scar runs painfully deep but with the eventual rebuilding of Camp Krem, they’re hoping to create new memories.
NEW INFORMATION TONIGHT ON EFFORTS TO REBUILD A SPECIAL CAMP FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL CHALLENGES.
CAMP KREM IN BOULDER CREEK WAS ONE OF MANY VICTIMS IN THE CZU FIRE. ACTION NEWS EIGHT REPORTER PHIL GOMEZ UPDATES THE NON- PROFIT’S LONG ROAD AHEAD TO REOPEN.
THINGS HAVEN’T CHANGED MUCH SINCE THE LAST TIME WE VISITED CAMP KREM IN BOULDER CREEK MORE THAN A YEAR AGO. CONSTRUCTION COSTS HAVE SOARED AND BUREAUCRATIC RED TAPE HAVE SLOWED THE RECONSTRUCTION PROCESS”
“WE WERE OPTIMISTIC WHEN WE THOUGHT 2- TO-5 YEARS. TEN YEARS LOOKS MORE REALISTIC THEN 5 AND $20 MILLION LOOKS MORE REALISTIC THAN $5 MILLION.” ALEX KREM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CAMP FEELS THE FRUSTRATION OF TRYING TO REBUILD SOMETHING THAT WAS PART OF THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY FOR SIXTY FOUR YEARS. ALL BUT ONE OF STRUCTURES WERE DESTROYED…AND AS THEY WAIT TO REBUILD CONSTRUCTION COSTS HAVE SKYROCKETED.
“FORTUNATELY, WE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FEMA THAT’S HUGE GOOD NEWS. IT COMES WITH A PRICE TAG AND THAT IS THAT EVERY “I” HAS TO BE DOTTED TWICE. EVERY “T” HAS TO BE CROSSED TWICE. WE’RE MAKING PROGRESS WITH THEIR HELP AND WITH THE WONDERFUL HELP OF CALIFORNIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES; CAL O.E.S. WHICH ACTS AS A CHAMPION OF OURS TO FEMA.”
THEY’VE OPENED ANOTHER CAMP SITE NEAR YOSEMITE WHILE THEY AWAIT PERMITS AND FUNDING. THERE ARE 300 CAMPERS ENROLLED COMPARED TO THE 800 AT THE BOULDER CREEK SITE.
“FAMILIES ARE SO ANXIOUS TO HAVE A PLACE FOR THEIR CHILD AND THE CHILDREN ARE SO ANXIOUS TO GET OUT OF THEIR HOUSE”
TWENTY EIGHT YEAR OLD DANIEL STICKNEY USED TO ATTEND CAMP KREM AND NOW GOES TO THE TAHOE LOCATION. HIS FAMILY SAYS IT’S BEEN A POSITIVE PART OF THEIR LIVES. “DANIEL WOULD GO TO CAMP, 2 X’S IN THE SUMMER AND REACHED NOTHING BUT INDEPENDENCE AND COMING BACK ALWAYS WITH A HIGHER FORM OF A SMILE”
AS ALEX SURVEYS THE ONE HUNDRED ACRES OF PROPERTY HE WONDERS IF THEY CAN REBUILD EXACTLY WHAT WAS LOST OR WHETHER THEY’LL HAVE TO SCALE IT DOWN .
“WE CALL THIS PROJECT PHOENIX AND WE ARE HOPING TO ARISE FROM THE ASHES.”
THE BURN SCAR RUNS PAINFULLY DEEP BUT WITH THE EVENTUAL RECONSTRUCTION OF CAMP KREM THEY’RE HOPING TO CREATE NEW MEMORIES HERE.
IN BOULDER CREEK, PHIL GOMEZ