Update: June 19, 2:21 p.m.
Sterling's CountrySide residents have been informed by CountrySide Proprietary that demolition of the historic silo in the marketplace will begin June 20.
Originial story: May 9
At some point in the weeks ahead the historic silo at CountrySide Marketplace in Sterling will be deconstructed, likely for good.
Concerns over the cost of preserving the 80-year-old structure or moving it to another location in Loudoun County led the Board of Supervisors in April to refrain from putting in motion a plan to keep it standing. An interpretive display using pieces of the structure carried a more than $108,000 price tag, while the cost of relocating it was nearly three times that.
The Marketplace's property owner, B.F. Saul, originally initiated the process to demolish the silo in early 2008, but has been patient in allowing the county time to find a solution to preserve it, according to Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), who represents the CountrySide area.
Volpe has been working with CountrySide Proprietary and Saul for the past year to hatch a plan to either keep the silo standing or at least historically document it, according to a county report. A design charrette formed to study the issue determined it would be cost-prohibitive to dismantle the silo in its entirety and reconstruct it at another location. The charrette came up with the interpretive design proposal, which would consist of three sections of the silo being mounted on concrete footers accompanied with photographs and a narrative detailing the history of the property.
While Volpe during an April 17 board meeting initially pushed for the county to engage in the interpretive design – the $108,000 preservation plan – she eventually supported a substitute motion from Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) to bring down the structure.
The Board of Supervisors, with the exception of an absent Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) because of the passing of his mother, unanimously directed staff to, before the structure is deconstructed, historically document the silo and keep photos and information on its history at the Heritage Farm Museum in Sterling's Claude Moore Park.
Saul's plan to remove the silo is intended as part of a renovation for the Marketplace shopping center.
“It's clear … that the shopping center itself is in need of a major, major facelift and overhaul to reinvigorate it. It's currently running over a 25 percent vacancy rate,” Buona said April 17.
Buona noted that Volpe spent a lot of time trying to gauge the community's feelings on the silo.
“The residents have really provided mixed feedback. The intensity of the nostalgia for the silo didn't really seem to come to the surface here,” Buona said.
Volpe this week said she didn't know the exact date the structure will be removed but that it's expected within a couple weeks.
The early-20th century clay tile silo was constructed on the site where it remains today. Loudoun County aerial photography documents the presence of farm structures at this location at least as far back as 1937, according to the charrette's report.
Some Sterling-area residents, it's anticipated, will be disappointed to see the silo go.
“That silo is a landmark, and I don’t even know why they want to tear it down,” Mike Priest, a 30-year CountrySide resident, told Times-Mirror blogger Kathie Felix
. “That really is a shame.”
Felix noted: “Today, new roadways and new shops offer many conveniences in eastern Loudoun. And, even if we don’t have the silo standing by to remind us, I hope we always remember that we’re driving, shopping—and living—on what was once a family farm.”