Frequently Asked Questions

The Restore Forward project is a proposed retreat center that will adaptively reuse the former Air Force Test Annex site, located on Webster Hill Road, in Ava New York.

 

Owned and operated by the Black Women's Blueprint (BWB), the purpose of the retreat center will be to create a serene location where people from the town of Ava, Boonville, surrounding communities and beyond can come to visit, retreat, and participate in the following: 

  1. recreational activities like fishing, skiing, picnics, camping, hiking/walking trails, and wildlife observation; and  

  2. holistic activities, like yoga, reiki, spa, meditation, pottery, Zen gardens, gardening, workshops, art, silent retreats, book readings, farming, and food as medicine.

The site for Restore Forward was chosen because of its beautiful environment, rural character, and the opportunity to live in harmony with people and nature. To protect these characteristics, the project will be designed and developed in a way that respects and upholds these principles.  To ensure our project is consistent with the Town's policies and goals, the project site and conditions have been carefully studied and the natural resources needing protection have been identified. 

To read our preliminary sketch plan as presented to the town of Ava, click here

Who would be allowed access to this facility?


We celebrate human diversity and strive for the broadest representation of perspectives in all that we do. We believe in and stand by equity for all. Restore Forward will be open to all who uphold the values of honoring the land and all peoples. Amenities will be accessible to the general public.




How can I support your work?


We invite you to donate via our secure online donation portal, send in-kind donations and share the website with friends and colleagues.




What kinds of partners are you seeking for this project?


We welcome individuals, community members, organizations, coalitions and service providers who are engaged in land sustainability, farming, wellness, mindfulness, leadership trainings, and more, to work with us.




Are you required to get public approval of the project and plan?


Black Women’s Blueprint is undergoing the legal process as well as the process required by the town of Ava and the State of New York to undergo approval which includes public input.




What stages of the planning and implementation process are you and your team in?


We are in the initial and preliminary planning stages of the project. We are working with a consulting firm, Community Planning and Environmental Planning Associates, to develop the site plan, review land regulations, usage, and environmental assessments.




Will there be a public forum for community members to provide input? When and where?


Yes, there will be public hearings where the community can provide input. The date, time and location are pending scheduling with the Town.




What is the plan to comply with the Town of Ava's Comprehensive Plan?


The following elements of our concept illustrate how Restore Forward is consistent with the Town's Comprehensive Plan, and its long-range policies and land use regulations: The Town desires to: -- Retain rural character along with its open spaces, clean air, water, and land -- Enhance and revitalize farming in the Town -- Protect the environment, including protecting forested habitats, and wildlife and habitat diversity, and preserve blocks of woodlands and the habitats they support -- Encourage community development -- Promote development that is sensitive to neighbors and compatible with neighboring land uses These goals will be met because Restore Forward will: -- Maintain forested areas on site and create a building envelope that uses the currently open area along with a small portion along the edge of the existing forested land for building activities. -- Design and lay out the project infrastructure in a manner that first and foremost protects the many wetlands, streams, and other environmental features on site. -- About 90 acres is planned to be included in the developed portion of the ~300-acre site. This will maintain the large contiguous forest found in this part of Town and ensure that the area is maintained as a significant wildlife habitat link. -- The majority of the parcel will be used for retreat center farming and outdoor recreation using the many existing trails and pathways and creation of new trails. -- Adaptive reuse the former test site structure for administrative offices and as an event/meeting space.




How will the property be used?


The Restore Forward property will feature an adaptive reuse of the former Ava Test Annex facility as our centerpiece, surrounded by restored farmland, event facilities, lodging opportunities and camping. These major features will be augmented with greenhouses, walking trails through the woods, a nature playground for children, a healing center, sanctuary, and more. Our goal is to not only rehabilitate the existing building for the Center and provide these other facilities on‐site, but to restore the open lands to productive farming to enable Restore Forward to be a ‘Farm to Table’ location.




Will this project impact the environment?


We fully intend to protect and preserve Ava’s environmental attributes. We believe in ecological sustainability. A proper environmental assessment will be conducted in partnership with the town as a part of the formal process.




Who owns the land that Restore Forward is going to be built on?


Black Women's Blueprint (BWB) purchased the land on Webster Hill Road, Ava New York, in 2020. Black Women’s Blueprint is a civil and human rights organization with its headquarters in Brooklyn, New York and an office at 201 Main Street, in Boonville, NY.




Is there a site plan?


Please see image below.




What is the purpose of the retreat center?


The purpose of the retreat center would be to offer programming to repair and restore humanity in ways that center layers of human existence seated within spirit and the sacred, as well as environmental, climate change and earth matters. BWB is a women’s organization with a history of providing broad‐based education and training and community engagement as well as holistic healing services. Some of its activities have included the convening of learning exchanges, conferences, talks and testimony and healing circles at the United Nations, via the first ever Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other convenings. It has partnered with governments, college campuses, universities and other organizations to convene technical assistance roundtables on the implementation of human rights principles and partnered with corporations to deliver diversity and inclusion curricula.




How are you funded?


Black Women's Blueprint is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization. We are securing charitable dollars from individuals and foundations. Please be in touch if you wish to make a charitable contribution.





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