By Sarah Mansheim
Owners of Lewisburg’s Montwell Park have announced a new plan for the new year. The park’s owners, nonprofit group Greenbrier Valley Restoration Project, have announced their long-term plans for the plot of land in downtown Lewisburg that houses the former Fort Savannah restaurant and inn. The land and the iconic log structure have been the subject of debate and discussion for the past several years, as the former fine restaurant devolved into an eyesore of a rundown motel, prompting discussions of what to do with the property that served as a gateway to downtown Lewisburg’s historic district.
Last year, Appalachian Mountain Advocates purchased the property and, with financial assistance from the city of Lewisburg and the Greenbrier County Commission, demolished two condemned buildings that housed the motel rooms behind the main log building. The log structure was lovingly renovated and converted into a contemporary vegetarian restaurant, The Spring, which shuttered its doors less soon after it opened.
Now, after sitting vacant for months, the property is being rejuvenated. In November, Country Roads Crossfit moved into The Fort (as the log structure is now called) and last Monday morning, Lynch Construction started breaking new ground behind The Fort in order to begin construction of a new building.
Once that building is finished, Country Roads Crossfit is set to move over there, where it will join a farmers market. Then, Hill and Holler, a bicycle and skateboard shop, will move into The Fort. Hill and Holler is currently located on Washington Street, and offers bike sales, repairs and guided tours in the outlying areas such as Greenbrier National Forest. Once in The Fort, they will offer even more.
“We are planning expanded guide services and a family oriented restaurant,” says owner Merrick Tracy. Tracy says he plans to reopen Hill and Holler at The Fort on April 1.
The Hub, an after-school spot for kids 12 and up, is now open in The Fort’s basement. The High Rocks Educational Corporation-owned facility provides a safe and fun space for teens to hang out after school and during evening events such as First Fridays.
Outside, a climbing wall, golf simulator, batting cages, workout stations and a sand volleyball pit will adorn the multi-acre park. Walking trails and a sledding hill will flank the park’s common green space and gardens, all of which will bring another element of wellness and recreation to Lewisburg’s already bustling downtown.