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City Council visits Kalahari resort in Ohio
Kalahari Resorts President Todd Nelson (left) talks
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Date published: 1/5/2008
He is continually expanding and improving his two Kalahari Resorts water-park hotels in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio.
He says every time he builds, he builds one level better, and when he begins work in a few months on the $200 million resort he plans for Fredericksburg's Celebrate Virginia complex, it will be his best yet.
Take the coffee shop in the Sandusky Kalahari, for example.
Instead of just a place to get sugar-laden mochas with whipped cream, Nelson wants the coffee shop in the Fredericksburg Kalahari to roast its own beans, bake its own bread, make pasta and teach cooking classes.
He's going to take things to a whole new level, he told City Council members on a tour of his resort yesterday.
Nelson likes the mantra, of go big or go home, but he's been known to focus just as much on the little details of his resorts, like picking a stray gum wrapper up off the floor before a guest sees it.
He is high-energy, detail-oriented, and, according to most of the Erie County officials who spoke to City Council members yesterday, he's able to back up his big words with action.
"Everything Todd Nelson told me when I first met him, he's done. He spent more money than he told me he was going to spend, and he's been first class," said Mark Litten, executive director of the Greater Erie County Marketing Group.
That's a message Fredericksburg City Council members and city staff have heard repeatedly since they arrived at the Sandusky Kalahari Thursday night.
They're here to see the resort and try to gauge its impact on local government services.
They're also still negotiating the terms of an incentives deal that helped lure Kalahari to Fredericksburg, along with the performance agreement that governs those incentives.
Over the past two days, Nelson has given the Fredericksburg delegation the hard sell on why Kalahari will be good for Fredericksburg.