Gabba Camp to serve as an oasis for adults with disabilities
Fundraising is underway to build a new camp for adults with disabilities in the Youngstown region.
"We're looking to make it easy for people, but it's a vacation spot, you know it might not be a tropical beach, but it's in the woods, it's going to be nice," Jimmy Sutman said, owner of the Purple Cat and Golden String.
Sutman unveiled the vision for Gabba Camp on Monday. The outdoor camp would offer housing, a pool, farm animals, equine horse therapy, a pool, a paved wheelchair path along a lake and programs for adults with disabilities.
It would be advertised as an oasis for adults and families who want to get away, but have access to to amenities closer to home.
The camp will boast 15 cabins and a lodge. Sutman says five of the cabins are already sponsored by local businesses and donors at $40,000 to $50,000 each. He says they'll be heated and operational year round. It's expected the cabins will be built in time for this summer.
The entire project is estimated to cost between $3.5 million and $4 million. Sutman says the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation has donated $750,000 and the Mahoning
County commissioners have allocated $250,000 in CARES act funds.
While Sutman continues to seek donors, Congressman Tim Ryan says federal funding will also help to build the destination.
Federal funding was used to supply water and sewer lines to the site. Ryan says he's going to try and find more money to support the camp.
"I think we all know families who are dealing with some family member who falls into this category and this is an opportunity for us to do something really special for this community," Ryan said.
Gabba Camp was inspired by a girl named Gabrielle who used to attend the Purple Cat before she passed away.
"She immediately was taken by the camp, she loved the farm and the animals," Sutman said.
Her grandfather donated goats to the property in her memory.
The camp is located on McCartney Road (Rt. 422) in Coistsville. Sutman says he plans to market it to people who could fly into the Cleveland, Akron or Pittsburgh airports and across the region.