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Supervisors to decide if former New Kent children's camp becomes drug-rehab center

Former Makemie Woods church camp
Posted at 4:36 PM, May 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-07 23:33:37-04

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- County leaders in New Kent will decide Monday if they will allow a faith-based recovery center to operate in the area.

The facility is called Faith Recovery, which is based out of Newport News. They said they are looking to relocate to New Kent to a more rural piece of property. However, for this type of operation to become official, it has to get a county permit to operate.

Faith Recovery hopes to use the 274 acre-property of a former faith-based camp called Makemie Woods.

Their program of 40 men yearly would go through a faith based process for drug and substance abuse recovery, and they would live on site with staff according to leaders.

“The county has a wonderful opportunity to help those who are struggling,” said Director Travis Hall.

RELATED: Neighbors split over plan to turn former children's camp into drug-rehab center

Former Makemie Woods church camp site
Former Makemie Woods church camp site

Securing the property for this type of use is creating strong feelings. While some are in favor of the plan, other new Kent residents worry about a recovery center opening in their backyard.

Two petitions are circulating both for and against it, and residents are weighing in to county leaders.

CBS 6 obtained emails residents sent to the Board of Supervisors about the potential facility.

One said they are not completely opposed to the program but they do have reservations.

The email stated concerns about the age of the people coming, and the vetting process.

Former Makemie Woods church camp
Former Makemie Woods church camp

Another email CBS 6 obtained was between Supervisor John Lockwood and a neighbor who expressed concerns.

He responded to her email thanking her for the email, appreciating the process of hearing from residents.

“This end of the county has long felt that they are the dumpster for everything nobody else wants in their backyard,” Lockwood replied in the email.

CBS 6 followed up with Lockwood to clarify what he meant by the statement.

He said he doesn’t believe any recovery center falls in that category, but that was the sentiment expressed from the public to him.

Other concerns outlined in the petition with 55 signatures range from accreditation, safety, and impact on law enforcement.

They stated this type of facility with formerly incarcerated people has no home in New Kent.

Former Makemie Woods church camp
Former Makemie Woods church camp

However, not every resident feels that way and some feel the area has a big need for this.

The petition in support has more than 100 signatures. Those that run Faith Recovery weighed in on why they feel residents shouldn’t feel concerned. They said all staff has degrees and have specific specialists that are certified on staff.

“We do our due diligence before a person even comes in the program. We’re not going to accept anyone who has a violent history or sexual offender or outside our scope with mental health issues,” intake coordinator Jean -Paul Thorne said.

Leaders of the recovery program pointed out how polarizing addiction can be. They stated they recognize not everyone may have been around it, to understand it, but their work helps people.

Now those leaders are left to wait on the board’s decision.

They told CBS 6 they have done all they can to get the right information out there; and want to be good neighbors and help the community.

It is important to note the planning commission voted to not recommend the approval of the permit. However, the board will have the final say Monday.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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