BY JUSTIN TONEY
Guests and members of the University of Mary Washington gathered in the parking lot of the former Roses convenience store Saturday to witness the groundbreaking of the Eagle Village complex.
Speakers at the ceremony repeatedly emphasized the benefits that Eagle Village will bring for both the University and the city of Fredericksburg.
Among the crowd were such distinguished guests as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Bill Howell (R- Stafford), Delegate Mark Cole (R- Spotsylvania), and Mayor of Fredericksburg Thomas Tomzak who spoke about the economic impact of Eagle Village.
“The money spent on this is going to be a tremendous incentive— a stimulus for development in the city of Fredericksburg at a time when we need it most,” Tomzak said.
Tomzak expressed his confidence that Eagle Village will do its part to further the economic viability of a city continuously struggling to maintain its core services.
“We have to increase our revenue or we are going to tax our home owners out of their homes,” he added.
Though the city council has not yet passed the University’s motion for a mixed-use ordinance for the property, the residence halls at Eagle Village are scheduled to open in the summer of 2010 to accommodate students displaced from on-campus residence halls that will undergo renovations.
According to Jeff Rountree, CEO of the UMW Foundation that purchased the Park ‘n’ Shop property in 2007, the project will feature not only residential buildings, but staff offices, shops, covered parking and a pedestrian bridge over Route 1.
President Judy Hample shared symbolic words about the bridge, considered by Roundtree to be the premier feature of the Village.
“That bridge will physically connect Eagle Village to our existing Campus Walk, and will also signify the coexistence of the University with the city of Fredericksburg,” Hample said.
SGA President Sean O’Brien also spoke at the ceremony and wielded a shovel, along with Hample, Tomzak, Executive Vice President Rick Hurley and others.
“Students are talking, and they’re excited about Eagle Village,” O’Brien said.