The Fairfax County Executive will submit to the Board of Supervisors and Wells Fargo a five-year plan to keep alive Lorton’s Workhouse Arts Center, according Mount Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland.
“October is when we expect the County Executive to come back to us and the bank with a five year plan to make sure the LAF (the Lorton Arts Foundation, the nonprofit that manages the property) continues and is financially viable,” said Hyland to Patch, after the Tuesday night meeting of the South County Federation. “I think we have to look at the present language in the Comprehensive Plan that controls the uses on the site.”
In that case, the former home of the Lorton Prison will need to be rezoned so that commercial, rent paying entities (restaurants, an events center) will be able to operate there.
The LAF board, which has committed to raising $511,000 in fundraising this fiscal year, revised its FY2014 budget in July after Wells Fargo wanted to use Fairfax County’s allocation to the Workhouse of $750,000 as payment toward the debt. Consequently, the FY2014 budget was amended and six full-time employees were let go, including the marketing director and the director of the glass program.
Wells Fargo has the option to take over the Workhouse and hire a new staff, but due to zoning laws it must remain an arts center.
“I’m optimistic,” said Hyland. “Wells Fargo does not want to be in the position of managing an arts center.”
The Workhouse, former home to the Lorton prison, has struggled financially since it opened in 2008. It is set on 55 acres and features live theater performances, arts shows, dinners and more than 100 artists with studios.
The next meeting of the LAF Board is on Thursday at noon at the Workhouse.