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Enormous waterpark resort planned for Fredericksburg
Huge waterpark resort is planned for Celebrate Virginia in Fredericksburg.

RELATED: To read an earlier version of this story and COMMENTS posted in that story, please click here.

See photos from a similar resort in Ohio
Date published: 11/16/2007

BY EMILY BATTLE

Kalahari Resorts, a private family company based in Wisconsin, chose Fredericksburg over two other Virginia locations as the site of a $200 million waterpark resort.

The development, announced yesterday at the Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center, marks Kalahari’s first venture outside the Upper Midwest region.

It also marks a huge turning point for the Silver Companies’ Celebrate Virginia tourism complex, an economic engine Fredericksburg officials are depending on to grow their tax base.

The resort will be an enormous indoor and outdoor waterpark complex, connected to a 10-story hotel that would include more than 900 rooms when completely built out.

The water park will include surfing simulators, wave pools, slides and a specialized roofing system that lets in UV rays.

“You will literally get a suntan right inside the indoor waterpark, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in January,” said Kalahari President Todd Nelson. The Fredericksburg resort would be Kalahari’s third waterpark hotel.

Room rates at the original Kalahari Resort in Wisconson Dells, Wisc., range from $200 to $400 a night. However, non-guests can also use the resort’s amenities by buying a $39 day pass.

Nelson said his company looked at Williamsburg and another location just north of Richmond as other potential sites.

“We just felt the location here was better, working with the Silver Cos. was better and working with the City Council in Fredericksburg, it just meshed,” Nelson said.

Fredericksburg City Council members have approved the basic framework of a large incentives package that helped lure Kalahari.

Council members gave their nod in a closed session on Tuesday.

“There was no way we were going to get this business from other localities if we didn’t have incentives,” Mayor Tom Tomzak said. “I am very comfortable with the incentives package.”

City staff members and Kalahari are still negotiating the specific terms of the agreement, but those numbers should be released in the next few weeks, according to Economic Development Director Kevin Gullette.

Government incentives have become an important tool in building Celebrate Virginia.

Earlier this year, the council approved a $1.7 million incentives package to lure a Wegman’s grocery to the development. Council members will likely vote Nov. 27 on whether to grant the Expo Center $900,000 over three years to help it build up its large group convention business.


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