Fun Land of Fredericksburg’s general manager grinned and said something “doesn’t seem right” just before ground was broken Thursday for Virginia’s first multilevel go-kart track.

Clint Novak, who’d christened Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw “the queen of Fun Land” at an event last year, then switched her bright red hard hat with one crowned by a tiara. Afterward, he joined her, managing partner Chuck Peitz and two others to use gold-colored shovels to dig into a spot where the Central Park shopping center amusement park’s go-kart track has been.

“I’ll be the queen of Fun Land every day for you!” the mayor said before telling the invited guests that it was an honor to be invited on behalf of the city. “You guys have invested in our community. You’ve made it a better place to be, a better place for families to be. You are a destination and you make us a destination and we appreciate that. We really do.”

Greenlaw added that she can’t wait to see “this roller coaster of a go-kart” track—but wasn’t sure when she’ll ride it.

“You’ll ride it!” someone in the crowd shouted.

Fun Land of Fredericksburg announced in September that it planned to spend $1.2 million to replace its go-kart track. The new one will send drivers spiraling up a helix for three stories—or about as high as the top of Fun Land’s 30-foot-tall lamp posts, as Novak put it. Then they’ll go back down to ground level and either enter the pit area or continue into a double helix that will take them up two stories before doing a reverse 360-degree turn and heading down a straightaway.

“It’s also going to have a state-of-the-art lighting system on it,” Novak said. “We are currently working with companies to develop a light package that will go inside the go-kart track to warn drivers if they are in a caution or red light or all those different NASCAR terms that you hear. So it’s going to be a really cool light package that we have not seen on any other go-kart track.”

Fun–Land’s old go-karts will be replaced by 40 new red-and-white gas-powered ones with spoilers from J&J Amusements, the industry’s largest go-kart manufacturer. Of these, 31 will be have double seats and the rest will be “rookie cars”—single seaters for smaller children. There will no longer be an age requirement to ride one of the go-karts, which will have a maximum speed of 18 mph, but there will be a height restriction.

Multilevel go-kart tracks have been around for a while, but there’s been a trend over the last few years to make them bigger, longer and higher. The new Cyclone Cart Coaster at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, Md., for example, is more than 1,500 feet long and five stories tall.

“We wanted to bring that experience to Fredericksburg,” Novak said.

MEPCO Materials, which is based in Stafford County, started tearing down the old, one-level, 1,130-foot go-kart track Dec. 11, and expects to have the site prepared for construction by the end of the month. MGC Developers, a Connecticut firm that specializes in building go-kart tracks and mini golf courses, will begin constructing the new 1,872-foot track in January. It’s expected to be ready in time for spring break.

Peitz made a plea to Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who were in attendance, for help with the weather.

“No more of this snow,” he said. “I know you guys want it. We need some good weather so we can make the April date for the reopening.”

Peitz added that the go-kart track will be the biggest single investment that Fun Land’s owners have made at the amusement park, which is located at 1351 Central Park Blvd. In the past two years, the business has spent more than $2 million on other upgrades and additions including a point-of-sale system, entertainment-card system, carpet, bumper cars, bowling lanes, bathrooms, climbing walls, virtual reality games, “Twist n Shout Spin” roller coaster and 30 new arcade games.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com