Millions dedicated to restore Windsor Castle

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2015

By Allison T. Williams

Staff writer

The town of Smithfield and Smithfield Foods are teaming up to renovate Windsor Castle, the historic manor house that is the centerpiece of Windsor Castle Park.

The town of Smithfield, during the Nov. 3 Town Council meeting, pledged $2 million to renovate the 18th-century mansion and its existing outbuildings. Smithfield Foods will invest $1 million in the project, in addition to $300,000 already donated for related architectural fees.

The Town Council is in the process of reviewing viable options for coming up with its share of the funding, said Mayor Carter Williams.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We will be looking at every option, including borrowing, fundraisers and applying for grants,” said Williams.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The Windsor Castle Foundation is preparing to kick off a $4 million fundraising campaign to use on future phases of the project.

Once renovated, Windsor Castle will be used for primarily as a rental facility for private functions.  Part of the plans includes building a separate events center, Williams said.

The foundation’s campaign is separate from the town’s $2 million contribution, which is earmarked specifically for the manor house’s restoration, Williams said, adding that the project should not result in a tax increase at this time.

Work should begin next spring, said Councilman Milton Cook. He noted that Virginia Department of Historic Resources has to approve all work proposed for the manor house and outer buildings.

Windsor Castle Foundation President Sue Ivy said her organization has a few fundraisers in mind, including a Park Lovers Party scheduled for next May, as well as participating in the regional Give Local 757 non-profit pledge drive. The Foundation is also raising funds to build a natural playground at the park.

The manor house currently sits on a 42-acre historic easement with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The easement limits what can be done to the property, such as renovations that deviate from the original appearance of the house and surroundings.

The town of Smithfield has had its eye on the Windsor Castle manor house and farm for more than a decade, and those efforts intensified after the last private owner put the farm up for sale in 2002. However, the town was unable to

In 2009, after a controversial, but failed attempt by a Newport News developer to build a large housing development on the property, former Smithfield Foods President and CEO Joseph Luter III donated $2.2 million to the town of Smithfield to purchase the Windsor Castle farm and manor house. In all, Luter donated more than $7 million toward development of the park.

Windsor Castle once belonged to Smithfield’s founder, Arthur Smith IV, which was granted by the General Assembly in 1750.  The farm dates back to 1637, which began as a 1,450-acre land grant from the King of England.

0 0 1 491 2416 The Smithfield Times 57 18 2889 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

News editor Diana McFarland contributed to this report. {/mprestriction}