Fredericksburg City Council on Tuesday night voted to expand the District to an area that comprises the northeast quadrant of the City – an area bordered by State Route 3, U.S. 1 and the Rappahannock River. It also includes a small section west of U.S. 1 to include the entire Area 6 Planning Area. City Council will take the second required vote on this matter Oct. 13.
The Virginia General Assembly in 2009 authorized any Virginia locality to create arts and cultural districts for the purpose of increasing awareness and support for their arts and cultural communities. The legislation provides for incentives for up to 10 years consisting of gross receipts tax and permit fee reductions as well as regulatory flexibility within such districts. Fredericksburg was an early adopter of an Arts and Cultural District in 2010.
A variety of art-related businesses can qualify for the program – including those involved in dance, media arts, music, sculpture, museums, performing arts, theatre and opera. The program is also open to any business located within the district that is not an arts and cultural business, but that hosts year-round, rotating art exhibits in public display spaces that are a minimum of 120 square feet.
The Fredericksburg Arts Commission recommended expanding the District outside the core downtown to encourage expansion of the arts. Tuesday’s City Council action also simplified the program by allowing all categories of art and art-host businesses to qualify for an up to $250 annual business license tax reduction.