Vienna dreams of a pool to replace former Faith Baptist Church, which may be demolished

Vienna’s former Faith Baptist Church, now known as the Annex (via Town of Vienna)

The Vienna Town Council appears inclined to raze the former Faith Baptist Church, as a study continues to sift through ideas for the long-term future of the site now known as the Annex.

A vote on whether to demolish the now-vacant building at 301 Center Street South has been set for June 5. While no decision was made, a majority of council members indicated at a conference session Monday (May 8) that they would rather knock down the structure than invest money in maintaining it.

Council members Howard Springsteen and Ed Somers seemed open to keeping the church gymnasium — another option suggested by the consultants conducting the study — but it was unclear how much that would cost compared to replacing the 1950s-era building with new, temporary recreational facilities.

Martin Kimmel, president of the consulting firm Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site, confirmed the team could provide “rough” cost estimates in time for the June vote.

“It’s going to come down to cost,” Councilmember Steve Potter said. “I’m leaning toward don’t put good money into bad. I think the best thing would be to demolish the building, but I’m having a hard time making a decision because we don’t have all the information.”

It will cost about $250,000 to fully demolish the church and remove the resulting debris, town staff estimated.

The town purchased the former church on Aug. 31, 2020, turning it into a temporary base for the Vienna Police Department until its new headquarters was built. The move-in process was completed in January.

After a review found that it would take $500,000 just to bring the existing building up to code, the council commissioned Kimmel Bogrette and fellow consultant Kimley Horn to help the town develop a long-term vision before it makes any short-term commitments.

Based on initial public input, including a still-open online survey and an in-person workshop, community members would love to see recreational amenities of some kind — particularly an indoor pool or other aquatics facility — in the Annex’s future.

Active recreation emerged as easily the top choice for future uses of the Annex at a March 28 workshop (via Town of Vienna)

“There was no doubt the word ‘pool’ jumped out” as a use that should be evaluated, Somers said, referencing a word cloud in the consultant team’s presentation.

An exercise or fitness facility, pickleball courts and meeting space also got solid support as potential uses at the March 28 workshop, which was held in the new police station.

With the police station costing about $14.1 million, it will likely be at least a decade before the town can implement another project of that magnitude. That may not be as far off as it seems, given the amount of time needed for planning, design and construction, Town Manager Mercury Payton noted.

Springsteen said a pool seems “cost-prohibitive” when the town already has millions of dollars worth of capital projects to address, from road improvements to sewer upgrades. Other council members suggested all options should remain open until they get a clearer idea of the costs.

Kimmel Bogrette proposed bringing in another consultant that could conduct a market and operational analysis. For an additional $23,500, the analysis would evaluate different possible uses for the site and project potential demand, construction and operational costs, and revenue.

Some council members expressed skepticism at the need for that analysis, though Payton said the consultant would be able to provide a more detailed, informed review than what town staff could manage. The proposal will come up for a vote on June 5.

“I don’t know what we’d wait for. We have to know what the costs are,” Mayor Linda Colbert said.

In the meantime, Kimmel’s study will proceed with more community engagement events at the Vienna Community Center from 4-7 p.m. today (Wednesday) and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday (May 13).

A final recommendation is scheduled to be presented to the council on June 12.

Read more on FFXnow…

Recent Stories

Cat (staff photo by Vernon Miles) Cat declawing to be banned in Virginia — “Veterinarians will not be allowed to declaw cats in Virginia starting in July, unless there are certain…

The Knutson Companies is thrilled to announce new opportunities for Loudoun County living with the release of a new section of rooftop terrace townhomes and a brand new community of…

Morning Notes

Falls Church High School entrance (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Fairfax Schools could lose millions under proposed Youngkin budget amendments — “Fairfax County Public Schools would lose over $6 million in…

Personal training studio Fitness Together is planning to open a new location in McLean later this year. The company has filed a permit to open at 6263 Old Dominion Drive…

×

Subscribe to our mailing list