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YMCA head unfazed by coming of a giant
Area YMCA doesn't feel overly threatened by proposed Kalahari Resorts waterpark.

 Above is a view of the Wisconsin Dells (Wisc.) Kalahari Resort, similar to the one coming to Fredericksburg.
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Date published: 11/25/2007


"Oh, no" was the first thought Rappahannock Area YMCA CEO Barney Reiley had when he heard Kalahari Resorts' plans to build a $200 million water park resort in Fredericksburg.

The $2.4 million Steve and Cheri Thurston Water Park opened in the summer of 2006 at the YMCA's Massad branch on Butler Road in Stafford County. Reiley quickly realized that the Falmouth Y's water park couldn't measure up to Kalahari's massive plans for its resort in Celebrate Virginia.

But then Reiley said the dust settled, and he realized that the YMCA water park wouldn't really be directly competing with Kalahari. He believes the YMCA park will attract area residents, while visitors will prefer Kalahari.

"We really have a totally different business model," Reiley said.

Kalahari Resorts, which operates two complexes in Wisconsin and Ohio, plans to build a 125,000-square-foot indoor water park and a 170,000-square-foot outdoor water park on a 49-acre site in Fredericksburg. The outdoor park will be nearly as big as four football fields.

Kalahari also plans a 100,000-square-foot conference center, 710-room hotel, spa, bowling alley, mini-golf course and more. The complex is expected to open by the end of 2009.

The YMCA water park is on a smaller scale. Built on an acre and a half, it has two 30-foot slides--one straight and one twisting--as well as a 15-foot children's slide. The main part of the pool is 25 yards by 25 meters. There are about a dozen water toys in a separate part of the pool.

"It's more of a glorified community pool with a few water park features," Reiley said.

The YMCA is running a special through March in which members can buy a 2008 family pass to the water park for $250, which is $100 less than last summer's rate. Reiley said the decision was made to reduce rates before Kalahari's announcement this month.

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