Community suggests fire station relocation, new rec center at Franconia Governmental Center

The existing Franconia Governmental Center is adjacent to the Franconia Fire Station (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is taking another look at its plans for the Franconia Governmental Center.

After two initial meetings to gather input from the community in April, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk hosted a final community conversation at John Lewis High School on Monday (May 6) to share preliminary feedback on what the county should do with the nearly 3-acre property at 6121 Franconia Road.

In addition to the meetings, Lusk said his office sent out a survey to continue hearing from residents.

“What we did [Monday] was prioritize some of it, and then let the community know that there’s rome areas that we need to do a little more work on,” Lusk told FFXnow.

The governmental center, which houses Lusk’s office, the Franconia Police Station and the Franconia Museum, is being relocated to a new site near Lane Elementary School in Kingstowne. Now under construction and slated to open in 2025, the 90,000-square-foot facility will combine those services with an expanded Kingstowne library.

The county got a proposal from developers in 2022 seeking to build affordable housing on the current governmental center site, but after a lengthy public hearing in January, the Board of Supervisors paused plans to convey the land to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Lusk said it became clear more community engagement was needed.

After the community meeting on Monday, Lusk told FFXnow that much of the feedback focused on a desire for a recreation or community center of some kind. Many expressed interest in a senior or teen center or reappropriating the space for community gatherings and activities.

There were also lots of responses suggesting a relocation of the adjacent Franconia Fire Station at 6300 Beulah Street.

“I’m open to doing some additional review and analysis to see if the fire department that’s on Beulah might be able to do a swap and possibly move their fire station from where they are to [the current governmental center site],” Lusk said. “I can’t confirm that that’s even possible, but…I have heard that from the community, that they would like for their fire station to possibly be relocated.”

Lusk said this would require analysis and many conversations with the Franconia Volunteer Fire Department, the Fairfax County Fire Department and the county’s housing department to figure out what is viable for that space on Beulah Street.

While open to that idea, Lusk said some of the other proposals for the current space made sense as well. He noted that a plethora of community spaces exist in the area, so an additional one may not be necessary.

“Franconia District Park, it has pretty much everything: a carousel, accessible tree house, spray park, fields with three baseball diamonds, soccer fields. It’s got a rec center,” Lusk said. “…That site is about two miles or at least a little bit more from here. It would be hard for us to say, ‘Make another rec center,’ when we already have a very, very significant one just down the street.”

The affordable housing project from NFP Affordable Housing Corp., Good Shepherd Housing and SCG Development Partners remains on the table.

Lusk said there was both opposition and support for that possibility, noting that the county has a need for housing, especially for employees who can’t afford to live near their work.

“One of the things that this project would aspire to do is to provide 20% of the units as workforce housing for firemen, policemen, teachers, other qualified public sector employees [so they] could conceivably live here,” Lusk said. “It would be better if people didn’t have to drive great distances and spend so much time in their cars, especially those who are providing direct services to the community.”

Lusk said he will discuss this matter with the rest of the Board of Supervisors when it meets on May 21.

Image via Google Maps