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Warrenton Council to take up future of Mosby House

Monday, Apr. 27 | By James Ivancic
Dave Goetz, in Confederate costume, guides visitors at the Mosby House in Warrenton. Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Warrenton Town Council will discuss the future of the Mosby House at a work session on a date still to be determined, but likely within the next month.

Turning the house at 173 Main St. formerly owned by the “Gray Ghost,” Col. John Singleton Mosby, into a museum was a goal of the late Mayor George Fitch and his wife, Patricia. The town spent 13 years to make that a reality, spending $460,000 to buy the house and then more to renovate it. It's been using revenue from a $138,000 tax credit from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to cover operating expenses but the money is all but gone.

The home is currently closed to visitors and council members, particularly Ward 3 Council member Yakir Lubowsky have been eager for discussion about the building's future.

Town Attorney Whit Robinson has been researching legal strings attached. He had already shared some findings via email with Lubowsky and said he would send them to the other council members as well.

“Until we know what we an do I don't know if we should hold a work session,” said Ward 4 Council member Bob Kravetz during the April 14 council meeting..

“I'm not sure what we can and can't do with this building,” said Vice Mayor Sunny Reynolds. “Council needs to make a decision on what we should do with this property.”

Lubowsky said his idea is to have a forum for anybody to participate and share their ideas, the sooner the better.

“Do we own it, put it in third party hands? In the end it's our decision but it can be informed through suggestions,” he said.

“The house presents a great opportunity, but it's also a great responsibility with a gnarly history,” Lubowsky noted.

In other business, town council approved a resolution to begin the process of updating the town's comprehensive plan. The town's planning commission recently recommended to council that someone be hired to hold a charette, a brainstorming session open to the town, and reach out to the community in other ways in order to gather ideas to put into the revised vision for the town's future.

Town Manager Cole Hendrix suggested that the charette be held in late June. He said hired professional help will be needed because town staff can't do it alone with the other tasks they have to perform.

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