HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Last week, plans for a controversial campground aimed at serving recovering addicts were pulled after residents living near the site voiced their concerns.
The campground would have been located near the corner of La France and Beulah Roads in the Eastern end of Henrico County. While those plans have been withdrawn, there are even bigger plans now in the works.
John Shinholser with the addiction recovery center The McShin Foundation says he believes a negative stigma surrounding addiction killed the original plan.
“You know a lot of people think when they think addiction, they don’t think pleasant things, they don’t understand that addiction is just one word but recovery is a huge movement in America,” said Shinholser.
Shinholser says they’ve moved on to new plans.
“So now we’re investigating the cost of building a planned community, maybe 15 houses, would be designated recovery houses, so we’re excited about that,” Shinholser said.
He says it would serve more than 100 people.
“I think that area in particular really needs a recovery community of some sort,” recovering addict Allison Longmire said.
Longmire lived in Eastern Henrico for most her life. She says a home for recovering addicts would be very helpful.
“I’ve tried to do it without living in a recovery house and it just doesn’t work,” said Longmire.
Cory Anderson is also a recovering addict and has lived in a recovery house.
‘So when I was put into this setting it gave me a little more tools than I would have gotten anywhere else to learn how to live life and not have to live life as an addict anymore,” said Anderson.
But Anderson and Longmire are hoping to change the minds of residents opposed to the location, who they feel just don’t know what recovery looks like.
“To see that it was so negatively looked on really angered me but as it went on and as I got to talk to some of the community members afterward I realized how much it’s just an unknown,” said Anderson.
Shinholser says there’s still a long way to go. He says he would like to see support from county leaders and the surrounding community before he officially introduces a plan.
The McShin Foundation says they’re planning a series of events to educate the public on recovery starting on June 29 at The Henrico Theatre with a screening of a movie. The event lasts from 6-8 p.m.