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Fredericksburg City Council may expand city tourism zones, number of businesses eligible to apply for incentives
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By KELLY HANNON
Fredericksburg may increase the number of city tourism zones from two to four to include businesses in the Central Park and Eagle Village commercial areas.
Increasing the number of tourism zones would make more businesses eligible to apply for economic incentives the city makes available to qualifying businesses in the zones.
Last week, Fredericksburg City Council heard a presentation on the zone expansion at a work session. A public hearing will be held at City Council's Tuesday, Oct. 12, meeting on whether to amend the city's tourism zones ordinance.
As presented, a new tourism zone would be created for Central Park. A tourism zone already exists at the neighboring Celebrate Virginia South.
The boundaries of the city's Princess Anne Street and downtown tourism zone would remain untouched. But not just geography would change. The incentive opportunities would be expanded or altered.
Businesses in the Celebrate Virginia South zone currently must either create 25 jobs or make a capital investment of at least $500,000 to qualify for incentives. That standard would be maintained for the Central Park and Eagle Village tourism zones.
Earlier this year, council members expressed an interest in lowering the eligibility threshold for incentives in the Princess Anne and down-
Currently, downtown or Princess Anne Street businesses must create 25 new jobs or invest at least $500,000 to qualify.
If changes are approved, existing businesses in the downtown zone could qualify for incentives by creating at least five new jobs or making a capital investment of at least $125,000.
New businesses in the downtown zone would have to create at least 10 jobs or invest at least $250,000.
Four businesses have qualified for incentives through the existing tourism zones: Bavarian Chef, Capital Ale House, Kybecca and Wegmans. When it opens, Kalahari Resorts would receive economic incentives, as a member of a fifth tourism zone encompassing only Kalahari Resorts.
Incentives could include relief from business, professional and occupational license tax, relief of sales, meals or lodging tax, if applicable, or relief from building permit fees or water and sewer connection fees, said Richard Tremblay, economic development manager for Fredericksburg.
Each incentive agreement would come before City Council for individual approval, Tremblay said.
Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436