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Tacketts Mill Opening New Performance Theater, Repositioning Center as Arts Hub


Could Prince William County’s very first town center become an arts destination?

Tacketts Mill in Lake Ridge, a lakeside development that took its architectural cues from buildings in Colonial Willamsburg when it was built in the late 1970s, is a mix of traditional retail shops and largely vacant office spaces anchored by a Safeway grocery.

After years of decline, the center has applied for an ArtPlace grant and, if they are successful, will convert a total of 5,673 square feet of vacant office into an art gallery and studio, space for up to eight “artists in residence” to produce their creative works at the center, a total of three art galleries, and two classrooms.

Theatre, art spaces to open

The new creative spaces will be in addition to an art studio that opened late last year in a space once occupied by a major movie theater, and the soon-to-opened Ebeyana Studio Theatre that will feature live performances from live comedy to dramatic interpretations.

“Over 13,000 residents live within a one-mile radius. 50% have greater than a one-hour commute in one direction every day. On evenings and weekends they do not want to leave their community, which is a now essentially a cultural desert,” Tacketts Mill CFO Nancy Kyme wrote in her grant application.

In December, the center hosted a Holiday Arts Market, its first in what they hope will be a string of new events to bring more people to the center. Culinary demonstrations, open-air markets, as well as sculpture and mural exhibitions are also envisioned here.

Workhouse Arts Center would be a neighbor

The center has already been successful in attracting artists across the Occoquan River from the nearby Workhouse Arts Center in Fairfax County, said Kyme. The Workhouse, after spending months in dire straits, last month announced learned Fairfax County officials would assume $30 million in debt incurred by the facility in an effort to keep it open.

Once a popular attraction

Tacketts Mill was a vibrant center in its heyday and included a working watermill, restaurants, and lakeside shops. But retailers at this town center were lured away from the development when other nearby destinations like nearby Potomac Mills mall opened and expanded, said Kyme.

Buried underneath center’s watermill is a time capsule buried in March 1985 that is set to be opened in May 2019. Kyme said she would like to have the center bustling once again, and the water turned back on at the mill when by the time the capsule is opened, to in hopes of a renaissance celebration for the center.

Community interest meeting

There is an contingent of locals who remain interested in the future of Tacketts Mill. Many have demanded Trader Joes set up shop in the center, which prompted Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May to write a letter to the company urging them to consider the shopping center for a future store opening.

The Occoquan – Lake Ridge Civic Association has planned a “What do you Want to See at Tacketts Mill” meeting for Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Prince William County Government Center’s McCoart Building Occoquan Conference Room.

“Tackett’s Mill is the heart of our community along Old Bridge Road and serves as an access point for commuters, public transportation, shopping, dining, businesses services, office space, residential housing, senior housing and a library,” the association states on their webpage.


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  • Bryanna Altman

    OLRCA is meeting on Thursday, February 20th at 6:30 pm at the McCoart Building at 6:30 pm in the Occoquan Room with the public to hear more about the future plans of Tackett’s Mill. I hope you will join us!

    We appreciate all the great comments that we received on the Facebook page suggesting the types of retail businesses shoppers would like to have at Tackett’s Mill. World Market,Einstein Bagels, a Great American Restaurant, Jammin Java, Bus Boy and Poets, Jamba Juice, Indie movie theater and more.

    OLRCA works on a variety of Land Use projects in the Occoquan District. We would love to hear from the people in our community to tell us about your vision for eastern Prince William County.

    On March 12th at 6:30 pm we’re meeting with a new land owner next to Holly Acres off Minnieville Road who has space open for a grocery store, and perhaps it could be place for Trader Joes.

    We’re very excited about the revitalization efforts at Tackett’s Mill and are looking forward to Nancy Kyme’s presentation to our group next Thursday. Everyone is welcome to attend.

    If you have any questions or need any additional information please call me at 571-283-1983.

  • Najiba Moats

    One suggestion to add to the revitalization of Tacketts Mill, along with a performing arts center, would be a free museum. I think it will bring more people to the area which will in turn help support the businesses.

  • Dale Fogle

    A ‘second-run’ movie house which serves beer and wine would be nice. It would allow an inexpensive outing for adults in Lake Ridge who want a get-away for a few hours without going to a smoke-filled bar and also to see an inexpensive movie as well as avoid the bustle of the mall.

    • Jason Froehlich

      I’ve always wanted the theater to return–many childhood memories, and now I live right across the street. Second-run would be cool, but as a non-drinker, not too keen on the beer and wine thing. Would love to see it come back!

  • Eastern County Kid

    How long before the diverse population of the area has a massive brawl in the middle of the Tacketts Mill or slashes some one up and down with razor blades?

  • Citizen

    A second run or art house movie theater that serves beer or wine is an awesome idea. I would pay double the ticket price and buy food/drinks for a theater that only was filled with adults. The surronding area does not have the interest or infrastructure to support some types of businesses, so you need to have businesses that will be a destination. Businesses that pull people from outside the area to the location. Trader Joes, Whole foods, night life, etc.
    A theater that has plays is a stupid idea.
    A comedy club would be great, They should take the cashier from Safeway: Corel and have her yell at people for wanting a safeway card “Jesus Chirst you want a card on a Sunday, what the hell is this?” or having something on the bottom of the cart “Put that milk on the belt, I can’t lift it and I ain’t got all day”. Or she could yell about how bad her fingers hurt, the offer to help you take your groceries to your car.

  • I remember when this was a first class shopping and business center. Anything that could bring Tackett’s Mill back to life would be welcome.

  • Syndee Lee

    Tacketts Mill definately has potential. It’s easy to locate, well-known, accessible and beautiful. Occoquan is known for it’s artsiness, but is limited in scope, so it would be nice to have something a bit larger to house primarily artists, musicians, actors and actresses. It would also bring people to the community, including visitors, from abroad.

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