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Occoquan could become a designated arts hub

OCCOQUAN — There’s a push to make the Occoquan area a cultural and arts district.

Following the passage of legislation from State Senator George Barker (Fairfax, Prince William), and Delegate Dave Albo (Fairfax), Ruth Anderson, the Occoquan District Representative on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors introduced a resolution to make the area an arts hub.

“The town of Occoquan, the Workhouse Arts Foundation, and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority [Occoquan Regional Park]. These three localities worked with the General Assembly to create the enabling legislation,” stated Andeson in an email.

The arts designation would create a better sense of place, and allow the organizations and local governments involved better work together to promote cultural and historical attractions. The small town on the banks of the Occoquan River is well known for its annual spring and fall craft shows, and the neighboring Workhouse Arts Center is building a reputation for its festivals and events. 

There’s also the opportunity for tax incentives contained in the new law.

From the legislation:

“The tax incentives for each district may be provided for up to 10 years and may include, but not be limited to: (i) reduction of permit fees; (ii) reduction of user fees; (iii) reduction of any type of gross receipts tax; and (iv) rebate of real estate property taxes. The extent and duration of such incentive proposals shall conform to the requirements of the Constitutions of Virginia and of the United States.”

“Personally, I think this is a wonderful way to form relationships between localities. It creates an incentive for them to work together for the greater good. It will provide unique opportunities for publicity, for events and ultimately for tourism and our economy,” stated Anderson in an email.

Efforts continue over at nearby Tacketts Mill in Lake Ridge make that shopping center and office plex a hub for the arts.

“Clearbrook Center of the Arts in Tackett’s Mill is keenly interested in how this might translate into future public art projects for its local artists. Art in the public realm builds community pride and assigns worth and value to our common green spaces. It has the potential of elevating property values and increasing weekend tourism, particularly in Historic Occoquan” Nancy Kyme, Clearbrook’s Director and Prince William County Arts Council Board Member told Potomac Local via email.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will take up the matter on Tuesday.

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