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Bill Freehling is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Bill Freehling.
Visions for Fredericksburg discussed at meeting
A better-developed riverfront park, more downtown events and a performing-arts center were among the goals put forward Monday by members of an organization tasked with Fredericksburg economic development.
Members of the city’s Economic Development Authority each discussed his or her economic goals for Fredericksburg during Monday’s monthly meeting. The goals will eventually be incorporated into the EDA’s strategic plan.
Among the goals discussed by EDA members Monday were:
- A second downtown parking garage, which City Council has been talking about as well.
- Further development of the city’s riverfront park, which is in the planning stages. The city has been gradually acquiring property for the park and has been discussing the possibility of buying more.
- Bringing more retail businesses to Caroline Street to fill the many vacancies that have been created of late by businesses closing.
- Supporting the new Fredericksburg Main Street Initiative, perhaps through a new special tax district downtown. Thirty-three people applied to be the organization’s new executive director, and final interviews are expected to occur soon.
- Dredging the Rappahannock River in the downtown area.
- Building an expanded visitors center.
- Incentivizing property owners to invest in their buildings.
- Renovating the Renwick building, currently home to the city’s Circuit Courthouse.
- Bringing high-paying office jobs downtown.
- Adding a performing-arts center.
- Enticing the University of Mary Washington to open a downtown store selling school clothing and more.
- Potentially relocating the distribution operation of the downtown Post Office.
- Bringing in more downtown events and expanding the ones already here. There was some discussion Monday about expanding the annual Oktoberfest event to the 700 block of Caroline Street in addition to the 800 and 900 blocks, and allowing more participation from merchants in addition to event organizer Capital Ale House.
- Better usage of second-floor spaces above retail stores.
- More tourism, potentially using contests and social media strategies.