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Ava, N.Y. Development

A view of the Concept Site Plan from the Restore Forward Zoning Application and Attachments before the town of Ava. (ILLUSTRATION COURTESY TOWN OF AVA)

The Town of Ava (N.Y.) Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed campsite and retreat by the Restore Forward LLC on a 300-acre site near Webster Hill Road, according to the Daily Sentinel.

The site — about five miles east of Route 26 and about 10 miles south of Boonville — was used by the Rome Air Development Center, now known as the Rome Air Force Research Laboratory, for electronic research testing beginning around 1957. Referred to as the Ava Test Annex by the Air Force, among its functions were the testing and development of long-distance radio transmitters and over-the-horizon missile detection systems.​ The Air Force stopped using the site in the late 1990s.

The town purchased it from the federal Government Services Administration about 20 years ago for approximately $20,000. The site has been dormant since then except for some use for storage by the highway department until it was sold to Black Women’s Blueprint. The organization had submitted a plan for the project before the town’s Planning Board back in May 2021.

According to the application by Restore Forward, LLC, which is affiliated with the Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc, and headquartered at 201 Main St. in Boonville, the project is intended to create a campground to provide a holistic-themed retreat available to all people so they can camp, visit, restore themselves, and participate in holistic education activities such as workshops, yoga, reiki, spa, meditation, pottery, zen gardens, gardening, art, readings, studies, as well as recreational activities.

“The Project proposes a campus or cluster of structures centrally located within the Parent Parcel to have the least impact on the environment and preserve the natural surrounding areas,” the application states. “The campground structures will use the already cleared and previously used lands on the property, and will also minimize roads and other infrastructure needed to service the development. Only approximately 3% of the Parent Parcel will be developed with structures or pavement.”

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