Businessman hopes to reopen Va’s Shenandoah Acres

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STUARTS DRAFT, Va. (AP) - Garland Eutsler said his mother, Kay Snyder, remembers Shenandoah Acres from her childhood. It was a place Snyder and her mother used to go to every summer, and it’s filled with memories.

Now, Eutsler of Staunton and his ShenAcres Holdings LLC want to bring some memories back to life.

Local residents will be able to cool off and reminisce come Memorial Day at Shenandoah Acres‘ lake, beach area and camping facilities, he said. He’s buying the property, he said, although he hasn’t made it clear whether the sale negotiations have finished.

“This place is iconic . it’s legendary,” Eutsler said. “It’s a glorious piece of property.”

Eutsler and his wife have been campers for a number of years, and he’s always aspired to own his campground. He said the property is a huge project to take on, but he expects it to be well received in the area.

Coming from a business background, Eutsler operated a T-shirt business - Tees To Go - in Staunton for a number of years, and once owned the Braves. His mother, Kay, now co-owns the Staunton Braves with her husband, Boyd Snyder.

The camp was started by a Pennsylvania couple, Rupert and Helen Blacka, in the 1930s.

The 280-acre property’s lake and resort became a summer icon for swimming with its man-made sandy beach and lake that is fed by a groundwater stream. Shenandoah Acres was considered a health resort, with its supply of fresh spring water.

The site offered camping, volleyball, miniature golf, baseball, picnics, horseback rides and overnight stays inside a small complex of cabins.

In 2005, the Blacka family sold the property to Good Faith LLC, but the company didn’t reopen the lake area because of rising insurance costs. A boy had drowned at the lake in 1999, and the operator’s insurer was involved in the later lawsuit.

New owners and managers have planned and used the property intermittently since then, as neighbors wondered whether the popular cooling and gathering spot would ever open to the public again, or had been shuttered for good.

In 2010, Shenandoah Acres was changed to Mountain Spring RV Resort, under the management of Jerry and Rebecca Early.

By 2011, the name was changed back to Shenandoah Acres - but was only briefly in operation.

The campground hasn’t been operational since that year. The lake area itself hasn’t been open since 2002.

Eutsler said he is upgrading facilities, cutting trees and preparing to open the campground, hopefully, in more than a month.

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