The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

April 16, 2014

Good fence irritates good neighbor

DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature.

Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road.

In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion of Doe Avenue within the camp compound. However, that short segment of public road is now the center of intense controversy between Camp Wapello and its adjoining property owner, Ronny Wilson of Drakesville.

“There’s no justified cause to build the fence,” said J.L. Stogdill, chairperson of the Camp Wapello Preservation group that owns the one-time Boy Scout Camp. “He cut Camp Wapello’s fence to gain access on the property to build his fence. We were never given notice that he was going to enter our property, destroy our fence and cut down a big oak tree.”

The hedge post fence built by Wilson prohibits Camp Wapello’s entrance gate from opening.

Wilson, the neighboring landowner for more than 20 years, claims he was within his legal rights to build the fence after conferring with the Davis County attorney. “The county supervisors gave us the road,” he said. “We got 400 feet on one side. They got the other. He’s (Stogdill) never offered to buy it. And we’re not going to sell it. We’re 100 percent within the law. The county supervisors closed the road, and half of it belongs to us.”

Controversy over the road’s closure started during a public hearing in January when the county decided to close roads it hadn’t maintained in years. Camp Wapello’s owners contended the county road ended at the camp’s entrance. “We thought this is where the county road ended, not inside the camp,” said Stogdill, who’s been associated with the camp for more than 50 years.

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