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May 28

Seeing the Future

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM by Kirstyn Barr

Currently we as a Town are engaged in three major exercises in seeing the future of Vienna. Our methods involve consultants rather than crystal balls, and we are shaping our future as we envision it. Most importantly, it is a collective exercise in which I hope everyone participates.

Maple Avenue: For decades we have been trying to articulate a plan for how our main commercial corridor might be redeveloped in a way that is consistent with the growth of our region, while maintaining our unique Vienna character. In 2012 the latest, and I hope final, step in the process was taken when the Town Council approved a contract for design and drafting services to not only express a vision for Maple Avenue but also to translate that vision into language for our Town Code. Part of this process was the formation of a Steering Committee—17 Vienna residents and business people to be the voice of the Town, guiding the consultants in their work. The Steering Committee and consultants presented an “Annotated Outline” of their work so far to the Town Council at our April Work Session. I think it is the most comprehensive and promising work we have seen in identifying our goals for Maple Avenue and how we might reach them. There is still work to do but we are headed in a good direction.

Police Station: Our Police Department is housed in a station built when floppy disks were cutting-edge technology and “terrorism” was a concept of which we were blissfully unaware. Times changed and needs changed and now our officers, support staff and their equipment are spread over three buildings and constantly trying to “make do.” The Council commissioned a “needs assessment” for the police station. The consultants worked with the Police Department to identify realistic, basic necessities for efficient operation now and twenty years into the future. The report we received was sobering—our current facility does not meet the requirements of the building codes for public safety structures or of the Americans with Disabilities Act, among its many other shortcomings. Bringing our station up-to-date, or building a new station, will require a major investment. I think we owe it to our Police Department employees to provide a safe, healthy and adequate work environment.

Community Center: If you have taken a fitness class, registered for Little League, attended a Vienna Theater Company production, or voted in a Town election you know that our Community Center is a busy place. It offers a lot of activities—but could it offer more? On April 23, dozens of Vienna residents participated in a forum to brainstorm ideas of what a Community Center of the future might provide. Participants were encouraged to think big and small, and ideas ranged from an aquatic center to a coffee lounge. The reality of space constraints and costs will influence any actual design, but it was a good start to hear the public’s wish list for a facility we all enjoy. In an effort to collect additional information, a community survey is open to all users of the Community Center until July 5, 2013.

All of these endeavors are still open for public comment and input. If you have ideas to share, contact Town Hall:Maple Avenue; Police Station; Community Center. Now’s the time to have your say!

Laurie Genvro Cole
Town Councilmember