Community center plans move forward

Plans for a new community center in Manassas’ Georgetown South neighborhood are moving forward.

The city’s Planning Commission voted 6-0 Wednesday night to recommend a special use permit allowing the Georgetown South Community Association, in collaboration with Northern Virginia Family Service, to build a community/Early Head Start center on a plot of land between Taney and Wellington roads.

“I think it’s a testimony to the fact that needed services don’t always have to be provided by government entities,” said Gary A. Howard, the Planning Commission’s chairman.

For NVFS, the center will offer a chance to provide day care for up to 22 toddlers from low-income families. For the homeowners association, it will provide a place of public gathering for the community.

And much more is also planned for the building. The Manassas Police Department is considering locating its neighborhood substation in the building. The Prince William Library System is looking at setting up a station to pick up and drop off books.

Prince William Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers and Benedictine Educational Assistance Community Outreach to Neighbors are also interested in the center.

“We think this is something that will be very beneficial for our community. It will be a place where people can offer activities for young people and old people, a place where members of our community will be able to meet,” said Hannah Senft, president of the homeowners association.

NVFS already has a federal grant to pay for about half of the building’s estimated $900,000 cost. Fund-raising is continuing, with the organizations involved hoping to have the center up and running by the end of next year.

Also Wednesday night, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend a reduced version of a proposed ordinance meant to restrict the use of sandwich board signs in Old Town.

In its present form, the ordinance would limit the use of signs outside entrances leading into multiple businesses.

“From the point of view of most business owners, there’s no change,” said Ray Willis, the president of the Old Town Business Association.

Staff writer Chris Newmarker can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 119.

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