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Huge waterpark resort is planned for Celebrate Virginia in Fredericksburg.
|See photos from a similar resort in Ohio|
Like these other incentives deals, the Kalahari package will be performance-based, meaning the city won’t give up any money until the business meets agreed-upon benchmarks.
Nelson said his resort will work with the Expo Center to draw convention business. He also said the park’s African theme will “fit in perfectly here with the National Slavery Museum basically being located right next to us.”
Nobody on-stage for yesterday’s announcement was aware of when the Slavery Museum might open, but Tomzak said, “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is going to be successful.”
Tomzak gave the Silvers credit for bringing Kalahari to the city.
Tourism-focused developments are harder to lure than the retail businesses that fill Central Park.
“They were true to their word. This could have been built out as retail,” Tomzak said. “But they have invested a lot of resources over the last several years, because they knew what Fredericksburg needed in the long-term was a tourism campus so that we could become a tourist destination.”
Nelson, whose other two resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., and Sandusky, Ohio, are the two largest indoor waterparks in the country, said his developments are powerful economic engines for their host localities.
Sandusky, he said, was an industrial town that needed to broaden its economic base before Kalahari built a resort there in May 2005.
Since then, he said five other indoor waterparks have opened in Sandusky, and “We absolutely changed their entire economy.”
“These have been humongous wins, just huge wins for communities,” Nelson said.
“We just think that we are going to bring millions of people to this community.”
Emily Battle: 540/374-5413