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Hope and plans for economic comeback
Officials in the Fredericksburg region offer their resolutions to try to spur the local economy in 2009

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ILLUSTRATION BY EDEL TRIPP/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/28/2008

By Pamela Gould

At the end of one of the worst years economically in decades, The Free Lance-Star asked some local leaders about their resolu-tions for getting things turned around in 2009.

Karen Hedelt, acting director of the Fredericksburg department of economic development and tourism:

Hedelt wants "to make the most of opportunities at hand in 2009. I can count among them the Eagle Village project that the university [of Mary Washington] is doing, the Kalahari Water Park Resort and Conference Center project and the city's mixed-use ordinance that can really bring some energy to some projects that were identified in the JumpStart program. We have people very interested in the prospects for that."

Benjamin Walker, president of Downtown Retail Marketing Inc. in Fredericksburg:

Walker wants to emphasize the city's positives, including its lower unemployment rate when contrasted to the nation, that companies are moving here in the coming year, and that it has two distinct business zones--downtown and Central Park--that strengthen its position by offering something for everyone.

Specifically, DRMI will be holding new, recent and resurrected events between April and October to bring more interest downtown outside of the holiday season. Those events include the second running of the Marine Corps Historic Half in May, an antique car show in June, the Heritage Festival in July and Mark Newton's Homecoming Pickin' Party in September.

Walker also said it's helpful that his group and city officials are unified in their vision.

"We all have the same goals, and that's important."

Russell Seymour, Spotsylvania County's economic development director:

Seymour's goals for 2009 include attracting more businesses that will provide the types of jobs that Spotsylvania residents want and are a good match for their qualifications, such as those in the technology field.

"We're looking at ways to expand our marketing to those types of businesses," he said.

Seymour also plans to encourage more Spotsylvania businesses to get to know and use the services of other county businesses. He said he's found many use firms in Richmond or Northern Virginia for such things as marketing because they don't realize those services are available locally.


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