Anything is possible for Vienna’s former Faith Baptist Church site — anything within the financial reach of a town whose annual budget comes in under $50 million, that is.
The 3-acre property at 301 Center Street South was a “godsend” for the town, hitting the market just as the search for a temporary home for the Vienna Police Department was becoming urgent, Councilmember Ed Somers said during a town council work session on March 28.
With the two-year project to build a new police station now in its second year, town officials are starting to contemplate what to do with the church property after the police move out.
“There’s not going to be new property in town, so this is kind of a special opportunity,” Town Manager Mercury Payton said at the work session. “…It could be something unique that would help further define who we are as Vienna.”
The most likely course of action appears to be a parks and recreation facility, which could mean adapting the existing building into a community center annex, as proposed by town staff, or clearing the site for a new ballfield or outdoor ampitheater.
Councilmember Nisha Patel floated a beer garden as a hypothetical possibility that the community could suggest outside the parks and rec umbrella, noting that “you don’t want to have a closed mind.”
Finance Director Marion Serfass suggested including a public survey in the next water bill mailings. Mayor Linda Colbert encouraged staff to use different methods to ensure all residents get a chance to weigh in, while other council members emphasized a need to control expectations of what’s feasible.
“It’s actually pretty exciting to go to the community and say, ‘What do you want to do?'” Payton said.
Annex proposed as short-term plan
Any long-term plan for the church property likely won’t come to fruition for another 10 to 15 years due to the length of the planning, design, and construction process and how long it will take sufficient funding to become available under the town’s debt model for capital projects, Payton told the council.
To prevent the building from sitting vacant for the next decade, the Parks and Recreation Department presented a plan to utilize the property — informally dubbed the Annex — for classrooms, event rentals, and recreational programming.
The church has offices that could host classes and meetings as well as a gymnasium and a stage in the sanctuary that could support artistic performances, according to Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman.
“We do have a big demand, and there are limitations to the community center,” Herman said. “When we had the renovation done [in 2017]…it added a gym. It didn’t add additional classroom space, so we’re still limited to what we can do there.”
However, converting the church into a recreational facility even temporarily could potentially cost $1 million, a study contracted by the town found.
An estimated $400,000 is required just to meet the building and fire code standards necessary to obtain an occupancy permit from Fairfax County. Other possible expenses include asbestos testing, roof repairs, and facility upgrades, such as an elevator to the second level and new floor to make the stage suitable for theatrical and dance performances.
On top of that, town staff estimated that the Annex would carry $229,000 in operational costs per year, while only bringing in about $214,000 in revenue from class and rental fees.
While staff reported that the town already has about $500,000 available to use for the church, including $300,000 from this year’s capital improvements bond, council members balked at the price tag for a temporary fix.
“Without knowing what we want to do with the property, asking for $1 million as a band-aid until we figure it out, I think, is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars,” Patel said.
Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 6621 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts. Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts…
The proposed repurposing of Inova Health System’s former corporate headquarters in Merrifield as live/work and workforce housing units got a hearty recommendation from the Fairfax County Planning Commission earlier this…
Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road