‘Variety of Services under One Roof’

‘Variety of Services under One Roof’

Option 1 site plan, with a parking deck behind the police station.

Option 1 site plan, with a parking deck behind the police station.


The Option 2 site plan features half-below-grade parking.


Legend for both site plans.

Fairfax City and County are currently working on a joint, master plan for the City’s Sherwood Community Center and the county’s Joseph Willard Health Center. Two options are on the table, and the City Council discussed both of them during a recent work session.

*OPTION 1 proposes a two-story, community-center addition to Sherwood, along with a separate, three-story Willard Center. Parking would include a deck on the current police-station lot, behind the station, with access to Layton Hall Drive, plus additional surface parking.

However, because of the desire to connect the two parcels for parking and access, the community-center addition wouldn’t be connected to the current Sherwood Center. This is not the preferred option, but it’s being retained in the event that the City and county can’t come to an agreement to jointly construct a combined health and human services center/community center.

  • OPTION 2 proposes a two-story facility co-locating the community-center addition and the Willard Center, while still being connected to the Sherwood Center. It also provides below-grade parking under the joint facility, as well as direct access to Layton Hall Drive through the middle of the site. The property lines would be combined, making one shared parcel. A third story could be used for senior housing, and this is the option preferred by both the City and county.

“In Option 1, the community center would contain a senior center, gym and associated space,” said City Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Salgado during the Nov. 28 work session. “There would also be outdoor space for the community center and a 10,000-square-foot playground for the Willard Center childcare center. The City and county would share the access, but maintain the buildings separately.”

Option 2, said Salgado, would be about 104,000 square feet total, including the existing Sherwood Center. “There’s enough outdoor space for the senior center, and this plan provides the main entrance at Sherwood. The half-below-grade parking area would still have daylight, and there’s nice connection between the two parcels. And if we want senior housing, Option 2 is the best way to go.”

She told the Council members that she and City staff hope to bring their comments back to county staff and address them in the next rendition of these proposals.

MAYOR DAVID MEYER and the Council then discussed both options.

“Under Option 2, removing the parking deck behind the police department gets the users closer to the building,” said Meyer. “And it makes for a more secure police facility.”

Salgado said the Option 2 addition would have a 50,000-square-foot footprint, with Option 1 being slightly smaller. But both would be some 104,000 square feet total. Councilwoman Ellie Schmidt asked what the police thought about the parking deck proposed to be so close to the station in Option 1. Salgado replied that the police had “safety concerns” about keeping the police station secure if a parking deck were built behind it.

“With a shared agreement with the county, we’ll need a strong contract detailing who’s responsible for what,” said Schmidt. And Salgado said that’s one of the next steps that would be taken.

Some 36 extra parking spaces are proposed, but Councilman Jon Stehle said he’d “like it to be elsewhere, so we can preserve the large, green space where this additional parking is now proposed to go.”

Councilman Michael DeMarco also weighed in. “In Option 2, I’m assuming the cost of one building is probably less than two, separate buildings – and the same for the operating costs,” he said. “So that’s important to consider, as well. But we should also cost-out Option 1 to help inform us about the cost of each building and how much of the cost should be paid by the City and by the county.”

MEYER said Option 1 “may not meet the long-term needs of the community; I have some serious concerns about it. And I think Option 2 is pretty exciting – especially the possibility of senior housing.”

“We need to open the discussion about senior housing with the county, in the next few weeks,” said Salgado. “I’m curious what the county Board of Supervisors thinks about both options.”

And, added Meyer, “We need to let them know that Option 2 is preferred.”

“This is exciting,” agreed Councilwoman Janice Miller. “We’re talking about something with multigenerational programs, from daycare to affordable senior housing to healthcare – and a variety of services under one roof.”

Schmidt then noted that Green Acres and the Main Street Child Development Center – which operates out of Green Acres – should be included in the discussions. “We’d promote Main Street as the childcare provider in this facility,” said Miller. “They’ve done a fantastic job, and there’s no reason they should leave this community.”