Christian campground Canaan Acres eyes improvements for year-round use

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The Rev. Michael Kimball, administrator at Canaan Acres Christian Camp in Nimishillen Township, has plans to update the camp, including the dining hall that sometimes rents out for private events. He also wants to build two heated dormitories so the camp can be used year-round.
The Rev. Michael Kimball, administrator at Canaan Acres Christian Camp in Nimishillen Township, has plans to update the camp, including the dining hall that sometimes rents out for private events. He also wants to build two heated dormitories so the camp can be used year-round.

NIMISHILLEN TWP. – The Rev. Michael Kimball is embarking on an ambitious plan to enhance the Canaan Acres Christian Camp.

"There just wasn't a whole lot done over the years," said Kimball, who serves as camp administrator. "We are trying to upgrade and bring it back and make it the place it was intended to be. We are making progress. Things are looking pretty positive."

The goals include constructing two heated dormitories. Currently, the camping facility has a cluster of cabins that lack heating. This limits their use in cold weather months.

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Located about two miles north of Louisville in the 8000 block of Nazarene Street NE, Canaan Acres Christian Camp is a ministry of the East Ohio District Church of the Nazarene. It was founded in the mid-1950s with the acquisition of several acres of wooded land by the Church of the Nazarene.

Along with providing a rustic gathering site for those affiliated with area Nazarene congregations, the campground also is leased to other groups.

"The (outside) camps that come in, of course, they pay to use our facilities," Kimball said. "That helps bring in revenue. The place has potential here. We have 72 acres."

Canaan Acres maintains several components

The Canaan Acres Christian Camp includes an outdoor swimming pool, athletic facilities, a youth center and a tabernacle. There also are houses that are leased to tenants.

"I have people living here," Kimball said. "I have eight renters out here."

The camp has a board of directors, so Kimball's plans to upgrade the facility have to be approved.

"Everything we do, we want to do it in cooperation," said the Rev. Dave Lutz, superintendent of the East Ohio District of the Church of the Nazarene. "We have support from all over the district. If you go back 30 years, the camp served a different purpose. We had a church there. The district superintendent lived there. The district offices were there."

The East Ohio District Church of the Nazarene office is in Jackson Township.

The facility is on better financial standing than it was in past years.

"There were some financial challenges out there," Lutz said. "Part of it had to do with debt on some facilities. We are much more stable financially. Back in 2005, that is when the struggles were. One thing we don't want to do is go back to where we were 20 years ago when our debt was large."

The construction plan for building heated dormitories is in a nebulous state now.

"We don't have hard details of how we want to pull this off," Lutz said. "We know we want to do this. ... We are not a four-season camp. That would be our hope is to have year-round activities."

One dormitory would be for males and the other for females.

"The number that keeps going in my head is 50; 50 per building," Kimball said. "I know it would be pricey. We are sending out some stuff to our donor base. I believe when the time comes, the money will come."

However, the work to install new carpeting in the dining hall is expected to occur in the near future.

"I am hoping to get on that in February or March," Kimball said. "Summer would be tough because of camping season. There is a lot of traffic. The carpet is very old, it is dated. I think if we made some improvements, more people would want to use it. That is my first project. Once I am through with that, I will move to my next project."

The camp is not served by municipal utilities, such as water and sanitary sewer.

"There is very little water and sewer out here," Kimball said. "We have our own wells and septic. We have gas wells on the property. Those gas wells don't always produce enough pressure for me."

Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305 or malcolm.hall@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: mhallREP

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Canaan Acres Christian Camp slated for improvement projects

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