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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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Expo and Kalahari
The question of the day: What does it mean that the Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center is to be included in the tax-increment financing district (TIF) the city is proposing to create to disburse the Kalahari incentives?
The first time I saw Expo included in the TIF was when I picked up my Tuesday paper and looked at the legal ad for the April 8 public hearing on the TIF. Up until that point, I had understood that this TIF would be limited to the 49 acres Kalahari announced last November it would buy within the Celebrate Virginia tourism district.
Apparently the first city officials learned of the Expo property being included in the TIF was last week, when Kalahari submitted the map that was distributed at Tuesday’s work session. Kalahari drew the boundaries to include the Expo Center.
The negotiations over what will become of the Expo Center once Kalahari is built are ongoing between Kalahari and the Expo center. I am seeking comment from both of those entities. On the city’s side, Economic Development Director Kevin Gullette said today that the inclusion of the Expo property in the proposed TIF district leads him to believe that Kalahari is working to acquire or otherwise join with the Expo center in some fashion. We have heard for some time now that the two would be physically connected.
Gullette said that when he saw the map, he made clear to Kalahari that the incentives that will be distributed via the TIF are only for Kalahari, not for the Expo center, which until recently was discussing a separate incentive/subsidy (the term you use depends on how you view it) deal with the city.
"In no way is the city backing into an incentive package for the Expo center through the TIF," Gullette said today.
But after months of discussions of incentives to benefit a 49-acre Kalahari campus, this new wrinkle has raised questions from both the public and members of the City Council. These are the questions I’m working on today. For more on this discussion, pick up tomorrow’s paper.