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Tomzak talks about ups, downs as mayor
Tomzak recalls time as mayor after announcing he won't run for a third term.

 Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak said reversing the City Council's decision last year to move ahead with the new courthouse project would be a mistake.
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Date published: 1/7/2012

BY SCOTT SHENK

Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak, a well-known physician who has served two terms, talked yesterday about why he has decided against running for a third term, and touched on some of his accomplishments and disappointments during his time as mayor.

"This has been a difficult decision, but I do think it's time to move on to other challenges," Tomzak said in his City Hall office.

He didn't go into detail about any specific plans after his term ends in June. But Tomzak did say he and his wife, Suzanne, plan to do some traveling to visit grandchildren. He also has no plans to retire as a doctor.

"I can't see myself leaving medicine totally."

He said his time as mayor "has been a great experience," and he praised the City Council members he has worked with.

Tomzak was elected in 2004 in what was considered an upset when he defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Beck. He was re-elected in 2008, easily defeating former council member Debby Girvan.

Some of the high points he mentioned included the construction of the downtown parking deck and the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, the addition of a community swimming pool, and the placing of an easement on 4,000 acres of city-owned land along the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, which the council approved in 2006.

He said the parking deck and hotel have been "a real boon to downtown businesses."

As for the lows, he said the biggest "by far" was the 2008 shooting death of Fredericksburg Police Officer Todd Bahr.

"That is something I'll never forget."

There are two contentious issues that arose during Tomzak's time as mayor and remain unsettled: Kalahari and the planned new courthouse.

Kalahari is a planned hotel, water-park-focused entertainment complex and convention center on 49 acres at Celebrate Virginia South. The company announced its plans more than three years ago, but the global credit crunch has left it unable to find affordable financing for the project, which is estimated to cost $260 million.

"I must say that Kalahari still is not dead," said Tomzak, who emphasized the potential positive impact the resort could have.


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