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Vienna hires consultant to help plan future of former Faith Baptist Church

The cross has been removed from Vienna’s former Faith Baptist Church building (file photo)

The Town of Vienna is seeking a little guidance to determine what to do with the former Faith Baptist Church property on Center Street.

The town council approved an allocation of $92,500 on Monday (Nov. 14) to launch a study of potential long-term uses for the site, now known as the Vienna Annex.

After receiving two bids in response to its request for proposals, the town has contracted Pennsylvania-based firm Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site to conduct the study, whose findings will eventually be presented to the town council.

“The information from the Annex Long-Term Use Study will provide recommended land uses of the annex property based on the town’s strategic plan, [comprehensive] plan, extensive community engagement and available funding in the long run,” Vienna Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman said.

The town bought the 3-acre property at 301 Center Street South for $5.5 million in fall 2020, giving the Vienna Police Department a temporary base during the construction of its new headquarters. Though there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early September, some final work is still being done before the building can be occupied.

As officers prepare to move out at some point, town leaders have been debating the best long-term use of the former church and have, thus far, come up with a big question mark.

Herman initially proposed utilizing the building temporarily as an annex for recreational activities to supplement the Vienna Community Center, but the town council feared that would cut off other long-term possibilities, particularly since a previous study estimated the conversion would cost $1 million.

The council authorized the removal of a cross from the building’s steeple in September but declined to fund roof repairs, saying it didn’t want to invest in a building that may ultimately be torn down.

When asked by Councilmember Ray Brill, Kimmel Bogrette confirmed that it will consider the possibility of demolishing all existing structures when exploring options for the site.

“Our approach to community engagement is to try to help folks see beyond what they see there today and look at the possibilities,” Kimmel Bogrette president and co-founder Martin Kimmel said.

Town staff will meet with the consultant next week to determine a detailed timeline for the study, according to a Town of Vienna spokesperson.

“Public engagement is expected to take place in January and February, 2023 and a final report is expected to be presented to Town Council in June,” Vienna Public Information Director Karen Thayer told FFXnow.

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