Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Who’s weighing in on where to put the courts

We ran a story this weekend about how various groups are starting to speak up about where the city should stick its next courthouse. Since that story ran, Russ Smith, Superintendent of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, has alerted me that he, too, has expressed concern about the idea of moving the courts from downtown to a site directly across Lafayette Boulevard from Fredericksburg National Cemetery.

Smith’s letter to City Manager Phillip Rodenberg also addresses proposed plans to develop the former industrial property at the corner of Lafayette and the Blue and Gray Parkway. A couple of quotes:

“Courthouse traffic will no doubt require a traffic light which will back traffic up in front of the National Cemetery and the Visitor Center.  Increased traffic will make it more difficult for visitors to make their way to the site and will reduce the quality of the visitor experience.  There will also be significant visual impacts.”



“In the next year or so, the park will begin the process of developing a plan that will guide management actions at the park for the next twenty years.  Part of the plan will address visitor experience and visitor facilities.  We will have to decide where visitor facilities will be sited.  At that time, we will have to look at the quality of  the visitor experience on Lafayette Boulevard and determine whether the primary visitor facilities for Fredericksburg Battlefield should be located there or elsewhere.  This determination will have to be made whether the proposed development projects go forward or not.  However, we will be reluctant to direct visitors to an area already overburdened by traffic.  That may mean a reduction of visitor facilities at the Sunken Road.  We don’t intend this as a threat, but as a possible consequence that you should know about.”


If you’d like to read the letters that the council members have gotten about the courts, here they are:


  • Russ Smith’s letter to Phillip Rodenberg, on behalf of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
  • The Economic Development Authority’s letter to the council members
  • Downtown Retail Marketing Inc.’s resolution about the courts location
  • The Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc.’s letter to the mayor