West Virginia voters OK tax exemption for the Summit

Among the big winners in yesterday’s election: the Boy Scouts of America, Summit Bechtel Reserve and people of West Virginia.

Voters in West Virginia approved by a 24-point margin an amendment that allows SBR to open its doors to non-Scouting groups while maintaining its tax-exempt status.

Yes, SBR is and will continue to be a high-adventure paradise for Scouts and Venturers.

But it was always intended to be shared with the people of West Virginia when Scouting events aren’t going on.

The passage of “West Virginia Nonprofit Youth Organization Tax Exemption, Amendment 1” means the BSA can continue its work with community partners and other organizations to open the doors of SBR and its 10,600 acres to all.

That could mean using the 80,000-seat AT&T Summit Stadium to host concerts and other events. Or it could mean opening the world-class archery, shooting, BMX biking, mountain biking, skateboarding and other outdoor facilities to host national touring sports competitions, according to a news release on the official Scouting Newsroom blog.

West Virginians made their support of this idea pretty clear yesterday. With all precincts reporting, the measure passed with 61.9 percent of the vote, a margin of victory of nearly 100,000 votes.

SBR director Dan McCarthy, quoted in the news release, expressed his appreciation and readiness to continue the great work of the SBR team.

“West Virginia has been a valuable partner since we began development of the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, and we look forward to continuing our long-term relationship with this great state,” he said.

The amendment, in case you’re curious, reads:

To amend the State Constitution to exempt from property tax certain properties in this state owned by nonprofit youth organizations and built at cost of at least $100 million whether or not the property is used for the nonprofit youth organization’s charitable or nonprofit purpose to help raise funds for the benefit of the nonprofit youth organization. If approved, the Legislature would be required to enact laws that would protect local and regional businesses from unfair competition and unreasonable loss of revenue caused by the nonprofit organization use of the tax exemption.