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Stables Owner: 'Sad for Citizens of Mount Vernon'

Owner Cindy Mitchell says she is "disheartened" that National Trust will not renew lease for stables after 2016.

owner Cindy Mitchell said Friday she is "disheartened" to hear that the National Trust for Historic Preservation will not renew her lease beyond 2016.

Editor's note: Read the National Trust decision .

"I am disheartened to hear that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has chosen not to renew my lease beyond 2016," she said in an email to Mount Vernon Patch. "I feel that I have been an excellent steward of the property entrusted to me for over two decades. The historic Woodlawn Stables property, which I have maintained and improved, is a center piece of our community.

The decision by the Trust comes on the heels of a controversial federal road-widening project for Route 1 being discussed by members of the community that impacts various stakeholders. .

"I am very sad for the citizens of Mount Vernon and those who revere preserving our history," she said. "I am mostly saddened for the future generations who will not get to experience the joy of horses and the confidence and commitment they foster in our youth as a result of this loss. 

A group of supporters who want to help save Woodlawn Stables also weighed in on the controversy Friday:

"Obviously, Save Woodlawn Stables is devastated by the NTHP announcement that the Scanlin Farms lease at Woodlawn will not be renewed past 2016. We have been working throughout the Federal Highway’s consulting parties process to try and design the Bypass in such a way that it would minimize the takings of the Trust property and still allow for a viable equestrian business to remain on the site.

This has been the goal of our thousands of supporters from the start. That the Route 1 widening should not force the removal of a cherished local business that has acted as a good steward on the Woodlawn property for decades. We are dismayed that the Trust has announced their decision without meeting with the community or the leaseholder to discuss the impacts of the road widening on their property, and try and find ways we could move forward together to preserve Woodlawn for the future. 

Save Woodlawn Stables hopes that’s the Trust’s highest preservation standards and desire to protect its historic resources and the public’s interest includes restoring to the property to its intended purpose as an equestrian facility. We will continue working as a consulting party in the development and design of the new Rt. 1 bypass, and continue to hold the Trust to their standards while preserving Woodlawn’s meadows and its rich history as an working equestrian farm for over 100 years."

Read more about the issue here:

How do you feel about the issue? Weigh in, in the comments box below.

PennyP September 01, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Kudos to Cindy Mitchell for such a classy response in the face of this news. The community knows who is the real steward of the property and who we have to thank for all those years of happy memories at Woodlawn.
Sue Hall September 01, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Cindy, you win in class. The trust would have left this area to rot and go to seed like the field on the plantation side of the highway all these decades - along with the decaying plantation buildings. We are with you and support you. The community is the loser and it is truly sad.
Kevin O'Rourke September 01, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Just to clearify Kelcy, Ft Belvoir built an entirely new bridge for Gunston Rd on the base. The new bridge is wide enough on Rt1 to allow the new HYW. If you look when you're going south, on the right the hill beyond the bridge just needs to be removed, opening up the new southbound lanes. The railroad bridge is the one where the hyw curves just before Burger King. That bridge will be demolished.
Sabrina Campbell September 01, 2012 at 01:40 PM
This news just devastates me. We love the stables and it has been a part of my local landscape all my life. I know the amazing people that run Woodlawn Stables and the National Trust won't find better people to be stewards over the property. I agree that the trust has failed miserably with the care of Woodlawn Plantation and the land that surrounds it. They have turned a blind eye for years and now that it has become a big issue, they don't want to make it better by allowing Woodlawn Stables to stay. I shudder to think what they will do with that land if Cindy Mitchell isn't there to care for it.
Irene Case December 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Obviously the National Trust and Fairfax county are looking for a tenant they can charge more money. Its a shame that this is the prevailing atmosphere in this county. Don't we already have too much EMPTY paved over real estate in this area? Is it really necessary to cover over every green space and cut down every tree for more cash. I don't use the stables much...occasionally their by product for my garden...but I enjoy sitting at the longest light in this area watching the horses graze. And the Geese. I also feel a smile that the kids in the area are still in touch with something living not just sitting sedentary with their computers.. Bad on you National Trust!

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