The Greenbrier Valley Restoration Project (GVRP), the nonprofit organization formed in 2013 to manage the property surrounding the log building formerly known as the Fort Savannah in downtown Lewisburg, has announced that it has assumed full control of the log building and the nearly six acres of property around it that is now known as Montwell Park. Two-thirds of the land was donated by the Lindquist Family, and the rest was acquired through purchase at the Fort Savannah auction.
The log building was renovated and opened as a vegetarian restaurant, The Spring, earlier this year under management by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Inc. GVRP has since acquired the building and has begun partnering with local individuals and organizations to use the building and develop the site for the benefit of the Lewisburg community.
The GVRP Board, consisting of Florian Schleiff, Paul Lindquist, Marz Attar, Barbara Wyckoff, Suzanne Thornely, and Brandon Johnson, states that the site will focus on health, community events and sustainability. The facilities will be open to all for various events including weddings, open-mic nights, jazz and chamber music events with partners, and educational forums among others.
To make sure that the overall project is self-sustaining and a center for community activities, the board has focused on establishing “anchor activities” within the log building. The commercial kitchen presents an opportunity to support community activities needing food service with an eye to using local farm products while serving as a community meeting space.
This food service vendor will be a tenant and partner to GVRP. Additionally the board sees the possibility of a bicycle shop on site plus a close partnership with High Rocks Inc., the nonprofit youth support organization.
From now until early spring 2015, when the new food service operation is put in place, the GVRP board has decided to partner with their future tenants, Bimbo Coles and Laura Lee, to provide space for their fitness program in the renovated log building. The board looks to continue that partnership after mid-March 2015 at an alternate location on the Montwell Park site.
In the meantime, the space in the log building will be available evenings and on weekends for community events. Two community events have already been scheduled before Christmas.
Planning continues for a new community restaurant to open this spring plus many other community activities, including space for a farmer’s market and activities related to fitness, farming, gardening, recreation and the arts. For further information, contact Florian Schleiff at 304-992-2555.