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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Monday notes

None of these stories will help you fill out your NCAA bracket, but I thought they were all worth sharing.

- Pilot editorial board still picking on Celebrate Virginia. Recent reporting on the status of the U.S. National Slavery Museum has given editorial writers in Fredericksburg, Richmond and Virginia Beach a reason to pick fights with each other (Where is Web video when you need it?). The Virginian-Pilot weighed in with the latest installment this weekend:

Regrettably, a group led by Wilder chose a site on the sprawling outskirts of Fredericksburg’s historic downtown. The museum would sit at the edge of 2,400-acre commercial development bearing a harshly discordant name, Celebrate Virginia. And, in a move that would render the setting even more inappropriate, Kalahari Resorts has announced plans to build "an authentic African-theme resort" and water park next to the museum.

That’s hardly a place to remember America’s peculiar institution.

This three-way fight could be the next Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer bout.

- Adaptive reuse for big boxes? Time magazine thinks the No. 2 idea that is "changing the world" is "recycling the suburbs." A story in this week’s issue talks about some of the ways developers are reimagining the suburban retail that came with the new homes:

Communities as diverse as Lakewood, Colo., and Long Beach, Calif., have repurposed boarded-up malls as mixed-use developments with retail stores, offices and apartments. In auto-dependent suburbs that were built without a traditional center, shopping malls offer the chance to create downtowns without destroying existing infrastructure, by recycling what’s known as underperforming asphalt.

There has been some talk about ideas like this in Fredericksburg. Economic Development Authority members asked city staff members to bring some of them up when they met recently with The Rappaport Companies, which owns most of Central Park, which now has several large dark boxes, thanks to the demise of Linens N Things, Circuit City and other businesses. Economic Development Manager Kim Schill reported at a recent EDA meeting, though, that Rappaport still sees Central Park as a place where retailers want to be. It’s just not a great market for getting new tenants.

- Train station an "embarrassment" – A Chicago resident who is moving to Fredericksburg wrote a letter to the editor about how nasty the city train station is. This isn’t news. People have been complaining about this for years. The letter says:

The existing station appears to be an embarrassment for a city that 1) has active rail traffic from both Amtrak and the VRE, and 2) presumably wants to promote tourism and growth. 




  • COD

    Maybe they should start with the old Winn – Dixie at Salem Chruch & RT 3? It’s been empty since we moved here in 2002.

  • thatguyb

    Spotsy can’t seem to stop thinking up ways to avoid VRE, while still sticking it to the city on the Harrison connector. Do they even have an EDA? But I digress, I’m surprised someone hasn’t come up with a good idea for that building. Must have a very high rent. Indoor go-kart track comes to mind…

    Watch what happens if Eagle Village works as well as hoped, you’ll see developers copying the idea left and right. Seems that no one else wants to be first.

  • lgross

    where we get abandoned big boxes is not from sprawl and shrinking suburbia. It’s from plain old jurisdictional commercial development arms race.

    Fredericksburg bigs a big box shopping center..then Spotsy .. trying get back some of it’s tax base – retaliates and so on and so forth until our whole area is dotted
    with the earlier salvos relegated to tanning parlors and baseball card shops – if they are lucky.

    Someone needs to call a spade and spade when it comes to how we end up with these big white elephants and it not ‘sprawl’ – it’s winner-take-all …so-called “planning”

    In other words.. we call it “planning” if it’s done to serve the interests of a particular jurisdiction like Fburg or Spotsy but then later on.. it’s the leftovers from “sprawl”.
    Wise Up.. it’s nothing as sexy as sprawl.