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Celebrate Virginia teeing off
Progress under way at first of three golf courses at Celebrate Virginia.

 Storm clouds break up over the new golf courses at the Celebrate Virginia development in Stafford County. Developers are planning to have the Cannon Ridge course ready for play by next June.
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Date published: 12/15/2002

First golf course at development is nearing completion

The two men climbed atop the yard-high mound of newly moved dirt and gazed out at Stafford County's newest addition, Cannon Ridge Golf Club.

Stepping carefully on different peaks of the pile, former PGA leaders Deane Beman and Gary Schaal tried to determine how high their complex's clubhouse porch should be.

"About right here," said Beman, as the former PGA tour commissioner found his footing at the perfect level. He gazed out at the first and tenth tees and the 18th green on a course he hopes will eventually host a professional event.

"You wouldn't want it to be any higher," he said, smiling.

So goes the progress on the three-course golf complex off U.S. 17, which developers hope will be one of the main attractions at Celebrate Virginia when it opens next summer.

Celebrate Virginia, a 544-acre project spanning Stafford County and Fredericksburg, also is slated to showcase hotels, restaurants, offices and museums.

The first golf course is nearing completion. Beman and Schaal--co-owners of Mainline Golf, a company they created to develop the Cannon Ridge complex--expect the public course to open next summer.

Developers declined to say when other attractions at Celebrate Virginia will open.

The much-talked-about project, headed by real estate developer the Silver Cos., has been in the works for years and now is evolving along the banks of the Rappahannock River, which divides the two localities.

Larry Silver, chief executive officer of the Silver Cos., said the project aims to lure tourists to the Fredericksburg area. Visitors want to learn about the local Civil War history, he said, but they also want to shop, dine and play golf while vacationing.

"There is no major tourist area where shopping is not part of the major draw," Silver said. "People don't want to go where shopping isn't going on."

Roads in the rough

In 1995 the Silver Cos. opened Fredericksburg's Central Park, which then housed a handful of stores. Today it has become a 2 million-square-foot retail Mecca.

Big-name chains--including Lowe's, Circuit City, Borders, Kohl's, Target, Outback Steakhouse and a Wal-Mart Supercenter--all have found profitable homes there.


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