|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Camp Cullen reconstruction underway
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Scheduled to reopen next year, YMCA Camp Cullen is currently undergoing a massive makeover that will almost double its capacity. Camp Director Len Masengale said Monday that work is moving at a fast pace to rebuild the 40-year-old camp, which is located east of Trinity off FM 356. “We had developed a master plan to replace just about everything here,” he said. “The one thing we had not planned to replace was our newest building, the mess hall.” However, an early morning blaze in July 2010 forced YMCA Houston officials to go back to their drawing boards and extensively revise their plans. Despite the best efforts of the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department, the mess hall lay in ashes and a new structure was needed. The camp has been closed since the fire. Work is now underway on the $12 million Phase I of the camp’s reconstruction, which will include the new mess hall and 24 cabins that can house up to 408 people. “Before we began the project we could house over 200 – maybe up to about 250 is we squeezed them in,” Masengale said. “This will just about double that number.” The new mess hall will also double as a recreation center for campers to use during bad weather days. Its dining area will seat up to 400 and will be served by a kitchen being designed by Pappas Restaurants of Houston. The 20,000-square-foot mess hall also will include office space, meeting rooms and a second-floor mezzanine. Brookstone Construction of Houston is building the mess hall but Masengale noted a number of Trinity area subcontractors are heavily involved in the project. Weekley Homes of Houston will be building the cabins. “David Weekley is a member of our board and has been doing this type of construction for a long time. He even has a special crew to build these duplex cabins,” Masengale said. Under the arrangement with Weekley Homes, the YMCA camp will purchase the building materials at cost and Weekly will provide the labor free of charge. “The cabins will be built in pods of four, all facing each other. We plan to put a fire pit in the middle,” he added. A larger fire pit for use by the entire camp will be installed near the new mess hall and the timber located between the building and Lake Livingston will be thinned out. “There will be a mostly glass front on the mess hall that will provide a view of the lake once the trees are thinned out,” Massengale added. The new mess hall is expected to be completed this fall and the cabins will be ready soon after. Work also is planned on most of the outdoor recreation facilities offered by the camp. Among the other changes already in place at the youth camp is the relocation of the county’s Waltz Road. Previously, the road ran through the middle of the facility, allowing the public to access to the youth camp’s facilities. Last year Trinity County commissioners gave the camp permission to relocate the public road to the extreme western edge of their property, moving traffic away from the young people who walk the roads and trails inside the main camp area. While relocating the road was paid for by the YMCA camp, Masengale noted that Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham was extremely helpful in making sure the county’s specifications were met and that a substantial road was put in place to serve a residential neighborhood located on the shores of Lake Livingston.