Glave and Holmes takes input from Bath public
A center for community members and visitors alike has been a long time in the making in Bath County. Several years back a lodging tax was enacted from which one percent of the revenue is set aside annually towards capital investments. Then a very dedicated Director of Tourism, with input from hospitality stakeholders, carefully selected and purchased site. There was a blip on the screen briefly when the Bath Board of Supervisors considered an alternate site. Thursday evening the architectural firm, Glave and Holmes Architecture chosen to develop a Master plan, and site design met with Bath residents in the Hot Springs firehouse to hear what they think should be included in the Visitors’ Center. Robert Parise, a Senior associate and Studio Director and Scott Kyle the Project Manager led those attending through some brainstorming and prioritizing activities that will assist them to get the clearest vision possible for the project. Kennon Williams, principal and David Serpani Landscape Designer of Kennon Williams Landscape Studio also participated in the discussion, and are collaborators in the project too, which will be phased over a number of years.
Through his own research and preparation Mr. Parise had found the author, William Burke, who in his 1846 book, The Mineral Springs of Western Virginia wrote:
“All who have described this noble fountain rate with enthusiasm… its temperature buoyancy refractive power of transparency all invest it with indescribable luxuries into the site.’ In 1846 the Baths were a lot of what people came to Bath County for.” Fortunately, for now at least, it turns out there is more here than the Baths: those responding called out; “mountains, rivers, dark skies, history, remote and intimate.” When asked to describe the people who call it home we heard: “Cordial, creative, farmers, outdoorsmen, retired and not retired, hardworking and relaxed.”
Later everyone was encouraged to rank photographs of different buildings and landscapes in similar uses to give the architects ideas about what would be well received here. One respondent shared it would be important to include the agricultural heritage of the Warm Springs Valley in the aesthetic of the place, while another mentioned that today there are hardly enough local producers to justify including space for a farmer’s market. One thing was made clear by Glave and Holmes, and that is they understand the importance of the phased nature of the project. Establishing the schedule, the budget, and timeline are still ahead. Their goal, after their visits to the site, through all of the surrounding area, and listening to many comments, will be to offer a design that is “consistent with the quality of this place.”
“The vision is the fun part, and what does Bath County want to be known for? Really what it boils down to is telling your story. How are we going to tell the story of Bath County through this story and through this property?”
Comments in can always be received at the Office of Tourism, or County Administrator’s office. Glave and Holmes offers a comment page too which will be set up beginning with the input from this meeting. Information on sharing your comments there will be posted with this story on alleghenymountainradio.org