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Silver Companies $500,000 donation is the beginning of big things for the Fredericksburg Athenaeum

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Date published: 1/10/2008


Starting in 2008, Fredericksburg promises to grow as a major tourist destination. One reason for this is the potentially lucrative Kalahari Waterpark Resort, which will be a part of the Celebrate Virginia project adjacent to Central Park. The water park has generated a lot of talk and support from local government.

Following a trip last week to Sandusky, Ohio, to see Kalahari's flagship water parks, Fredericksburg's city council met this week to decide on a final package of economic incentives to offer the park.

In order for the water park and tourist-oriented projects in development to thrive, however, Fredericksburg must also offer other incentives--namely those to the community and tourists who will be supporting them.

City officials--along with Celebrate Virginia's project developer, the Silver Cos.--must help bring downtown up to par with their vision of Fredericksburg as a youth-friendly destination. And to do that, they must form some new alliances.

A recently announced $500,000 grant from the Silver Cos. to downtown's Fredericksburg Athenaeum promises to be a big step in the right direction.


Paul Lewis, head of the Fredericksburg Athenaeum and owner of Wounded Bookshop, is no stranger to forming partnerships. As a member of the downtown arts community, Lewis has partnered with many organizations, including teen arts organization The Panta Rhei Project.

The Athenaeum is also unofficially associated with the Fredericksburg All Ages concert series (which Lewis said may be officially incorporated into the Athenaeum in 2008), as well as the teen-run Fredericksburg Free Store. Both organizations use the Athenaeum's Third Floor loft space at 810 Caroline St. for regular events.

"The gift received by the Athenaeum is a big first step in acknowledging the importance of the arts community in downtown Fredericksburg," said Adam Bray, organizer of the All Ages shows.

"By enabling artists, writers and musicians, the cultural gifts of our town will flourish and make downtown a vibrant center of entertainment and creative energy--not just for teenagers and Fredericksburg All Ages shows, but, for the entire community. It'll be an exciting 2008."


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