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Developer investing in 300-acre campgrounds in LaFayette

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Local News

Posted: Jul 13, 2021 / 12:32 PM EDT Updated: Jul 13, 2021 / 12:32 PM EDT

LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A local developer is switching gears, investing in a 300-acre campsite in LaFayette. Jim Raite, who owns Time Cap Inc., just found the property a few months ago when his business partner pitched the idea to him.

The site looks over Apple Valley on Route 31, and it’s been out of public use for years. Now, Raite and his partner are transforming it into a place called Wonderland Forest, Inc.

“The first year, we’re just trying to get it off the ground,” Raite said.

It’s a free spot to hike, as long as people sign a waiver. There are also more than 100 camping sites on the grounds, which Raite is fixing up and adding more of. Each camper will pay $35 to stay overnight. Along the hike, you’ll find hidden waterfalls.

“Right now, we have the house that’s 3,000 feet, we’ve got seven buildings, we renovated six of them. And they’re all, now they’re all rentable,” Raite said.

The feature that really sold Raite on investing in the property is the overlook. You can see the whole Apple Valley down on Route 20. Raite said most of his customers are coming from the music festivals down there.

“It’s a beautiful spot. We have to use it for something, it sat dormant for quite a while,” Raite said.

Raite said the property was a camp before he bought it. At one point, the owners had big plans, but they never came to life. Raite hopes to bring those plans to the next level.

“I just enjoy it, every day I do something different,” Raite said.