The Council of Vienna should remove the bell tower of the old church

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Church steeples add interest and variety to Vienna’s skyline, but that of the old Faith Baptist Church is likely to fall.

The Vienna city council, at its meeting on August 29, will consider a proposal to remove the spire of the old church.

In August 2020, the city purchased the Faith Baptist Church property, located at 301 Center St., S., for $5.5 million and is using the church building as a temporary police station during construction. of the new Vienna police headquarters nearby. Construction on this project is expected to be completed later this summer.

Council member Howard Springsteen said at the July 11 council meeting that he heard several residents talking about the steeple and asked for it to be removed.

“It sends a bad sign,” he said of the steeple. “I think we have to get rid of that.”

Asked after the meeting to be more specific, Springsteen was.

“The steeple is sticking out because it’s no longer a church,” he told the Sun Gazette. “Church and State must remain separate. We had planned to take it down, but I wanted to get things done.

The city set aside $300,000 from this year’s bond issue for questions about the old church, and removing its steeple likely wouldn’t use all of that, the chief financial officer said. Marion Serfass.

The city has a $12,000 estimate to remove the steeple from the building, but there would also be additional roofing costs, Springsteen said.

Vienna officials were already planning to spend $20,000 to fix a leak on the roof of the building. Another leak has surfaced and, like the previous one, is on a flat portion of the roof. Contractors estimated total roof repairs would cost between $80,000 and $130,000, said parks and recreation manager Leslie Herman.

Given these leaks and the proposed removal of the steeple, city officials may consider replacing the structure’s entire roof, Herman said.

“I don’t want us to linger for the next six or eight months,” Springsteen said. “Because the roof is becoming a problem, I think we should remove the steeple, because you’re going to have to fix where the bolts on the roof go.”

Prior to the August 29 meeting, City staff will gather additional information and cost estimates regarding the potential steeple removal and roof replacement.

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