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The City of Fredericksburg Community Guide

Fredericksburg overview

The city of Fredericksburg sits at the fall line of the Rappahannock River.

Centered between Washington and Richmond (about 50 miles from each), it serves as the hub of a region that includes fast-growing Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

In the 40-block Historic District downtown, the land rising from the riverbank is dotted with historic homes and tree-shaded residential neighborhoods.

The city's downtown business center is Caroline Street, which is also home to a variety of shops and restaurants.

Central Park on State Route 3 is the city's largest retailer and includes a variety of major big box stores, along with major restaurant chains and other retailers.

Lafayette Upper Elementary School fourth grader Levar Grubb works on a writing project using an Acer tablet in teacher Maureen Ballard's class on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star)


There are four schools in Fredericksburg: two elementary schools, one middle and one high school.

Hugh Mercer Elementary has kindergarten through second grade and Lafayette Upper Elementary School has third through fifth grade, students.

In the fall of 2013, there were 3,457 students in the city school system.

The high school’s football team has competed for a state title five times.

This year, all four schools in the city were fully accredited.

Hugh Mercer Elementary is undergoing an expansion to make accommodate the growing population.

When the elementary school opened in 1968, it was built to house between 800 and 825 students. Enrollment last year was 885 students and by 2017, it’s expected to grow to 927 students.

Fredericksburg real estate

The city of Fredericksburg is the inner core of the region, and the source of much of the area’s identity.

Downtown Fredericksburg is a picturesque spot that includes restaurants, boutique stores, a train station, the University of Mary Washington, an active arts scene, the local government center and numerous parks including one along the Rappahannock River. Integrated into this mix are densely clustered, century-old residences that range from modest to grand in a wide variety of architectural styles.

Some of the city’s priciest and nicest homes are along Washington Avenue, and Caroline and Hanover streets downtown. As has occurred in many communities throughout the U.S. of late, many area residents are choosing to move downtown for its walkable and convenient lifestyle.

That is leading to more condominium and townhouse projects getting built downtown, and more restaurants opening to cater to the new arrivals. Outside downtown in the city are newer, suburban-style neighborhoods such as Idlewild and The Preserve at Smith Run.

Fredericksburg transportation

The city is pigeon-holed between a pair of growing counties in Stafford and Spotsylvania. The drastic growth in each of those counties over the past decade has caused big traffic problems in those localities. But the traffic problems have also hit the city.

The commuter rush often causes jams on Fredericksburg roads, including Fall Hill Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard.

Fall Hill will be closed most of 2014 while the Rappahannock Canal Bridge is torn down and rebuilt (click here for details from the city). Following that work, a widening project will soon follow.

A Lafayette Boulevard project is set to get a roundabout, which is being done not to help with traffic but to allow for residential and commercial growth.

Traffic in the city should improve as a result of the Rappahannock River Crossing project, as part of those plans call for improvements at the I-95 exit at Route 3, where Central Park is.

Central Park, located where Route 3 and Interstate 95 intersect, is Fredericksburg's major shopping destination.(File/The Free Lance-Star)


Fredericksburg is the retail hub of the region, with Central Park and Celebrate Virginia South (home to a Wegmans grocery store) attracting shoppers from all over the area. Celebrate Virginia could get a boost soon with the arrival of the Hagerstown Suns, a Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals that plan to build a new minor league stadium in time for the 2015 season.

The Suns are partnering on the venture with New Jersey-based Diamond Nation, which wants to build an amateur baseball complex next to the stadium for travel team tournaments and camps. There are also additional retail developments along State Route 3 in the city. Mary Washington Hospital is the largest hospital in the region, and numerous medical offices and supporting retail surround the complex.

The University of Mary Washington has been transforming the U.S. 1 corridor in the city with its Eagle Village complex, which includes an attractive pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 connecting to campus, a Hyatt Place hotel, a hospital connector road and student apartments.

Downtown Fredericksburg is home to the city’s central business district and government center as well as century-old residences and the University of Mary Washington’s main campus. The city is a HUBZone, allowing it to attract federal contractors interested in that program.

Fredericksburg news feed

Man convicted in slaying

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR A Fredericksburg jury Thursday recommended that John Pegram ser ... Sep 18 in The News Desk.

City to open rail trail with abundant caution

BY PAMELA GOULD / THE FREE LANCE–STAR The first two sections of the Virginia Central Railway Trail ... Sep 18 in The News Desk.

Banking antiques need a new home

The National Bank museum at PNC Bank on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (SCOTT JULIAN / THE FREE LANCE-ST ... Sep 18 in The News Desk.

VCR Trail opens first sections on Saturday

Fredericksburg Public Works Department employees James Haegele (on the ground) and Jason Ogle make ... Sep 18 in City Beat.

Fredericksburg employees taking part in wellness challenge

If you start seeing a lot more people walking downtown between Oct. 1 and Nov. 11, it could be a ... Sep 18 in City Beat.

Hope House gets a new name

BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE / THE FREE LANCE-STAR On a cold February night in 1985, a group of church memb ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

City murder trial underway

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE-STAR Diontae Washington testified Wednesday that part of his reason ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

Baseball partners try to sweeten deal with city

BY PAMELA GOULD / THE FREE LANCE–STAR The partners seeking to build a sports complex and bring mino ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

Local business leaders tour armory

BY DAWNTHEA PRICE / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Local business representatives and Fredericksburg Regional ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

Man says thief grabbed his cash in city

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Fredericksburg police are investigating a reported theft from a ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

First of four men go on trial in Fredericksburg killing

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR A trial for one of the four men accused in the Nov. 24 slaying ... Sep 17 in The News Desk.

VDOT road work in Fredericksburg this week on Route 3 and US 1

The Virginia Department of Transportation will be doing the following work in Fredericksburg this we ... Sep 15 in City Beat.

Design firm seeking ways to reduce park cost

BY PAMELA GOULD / THE FREE LANCE–STAR The initial cost estimate for Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Par ... Sep 10 in The News Desk.

Fredericksburg Council approves permits for three Cowan Crossing restaurants

The Fredericksburg City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit for three restaurants plan ... Sep 09 in City Beat.

Council recognizes retiring firefighter Tim Merryman

City Manager Bev Cameron thanks firefighter Tim Merryman for his service to the city as Mayor Mary ... Sep 09 in City Beat.

Riverfront Park cost as high as $18 million at initial estimate

The initial estimate of the cost for Fredericksburg's Riverfront Park was between $14 million and $1 ... Sep 09 in City Beat.

Micah vows to focus on aiding homeless vets

BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE / THE FREE LANCE-STARNavigating military acronyms, jargon and red tape can be t ... Sep 08 in The News Desk.

City Council eyes Riverfront Park plan

A side-view rendering of the proposed Riverfront Park shows various features, including the mas ... Sep 08 in The News Desk.

Update: Check out the traffic study and maps on Mill District proposal

Today, I lay out plans being led by former Fredericksburg Planning Commissioner Ed Whelan to attempt ... Sep 07 in City Beat.

Baseball talks may go into extra innings

BY PAMELA GOULD / THE FREE LANCE–STAR The fate of a proposal to bring professional baseball to Fred ... Sep 06 in The News Desk.

Can Mill District plan revive city corridor?

As part of former Planning Commissioner Ed Whelan's Mill District redevelopment plan a pedestrian t ... Sep 06 in The News Desk.

Fredericksburg trees felled by vandals

BY DAWNTHEA PRICE / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Two trees in downtown Fredericksburg have been “damaged b ... Sep 06 in The News Desk.

Fredericksburg trees felled by vandals

BY DAWNTHEA PRICE / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Two trees in downtown Fredericksburg have been “damaged b ... Sep 06 in The News Desk.

City police make arrests in thefts

SEE ALSO: Fingerprint leads to man’s arrest BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Fredericksburg pol ... Sep 05 in The News Desk.

Fingerprint leads to man's arrest

A fingerprint match has led to larceny charges against a man in connection with thefts in June that ... Sep 05 in The News Desk.