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June 26, 2018

Councilman: Broadview might want business group

Fast food restaurants and vehicle-related businesses dominate busy Broadview Avenue.
It was just food for thought. The west side of Broadview Avenue is in my ward. And I thought it might be something that would interest them.
— Town Councilman Bob Kravetz
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Staff Journalist
The Warrenton town councilman recently suggested that Broadview Avenue merchants might want to establish a business group of their own.

“It was just food for thought,” Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) said. “The west side of Broadview Avenue is in my ward. And, I thought it might be something that would interest them.”

Mr. Kravetz believes that kind of group could provide a forum to discuss “economic development ideas” affecting the mile-long commercial stretch, which he called a “major” source of town revenue. Broadview business leaders also have expressed opposition to town and state plans to build a series of medians along the six-lane strip.

Mr. Kravetz floated the idea during an informal June 14 meeting of Broadview Avenue businesses at Moser Funeral Home.

Oak View National Bank CEO Mike Ewing, Foster’s Grille President Mike Cerny, funeral home owner Randy Minter and Town Economic Development Manager Tom Wisemiller also attended the 90-minute meeting at 233 Broadview Ave.

“I think they were intrigued by the idea,” Mr. Kravetz said of the three businessmen.

Broadview merchants and property owners — not him — should determine whether the idea has merit and should be pursued, the councilman stressed.

“They’re going to have to take the initiative,” he added. “I’m not going to.”

For now, Mr. Ewing has no opinion about the idea of creating a Broadview Avenue business group.

“I don’t think it’s been completely fleshed out at this point,” the bank official said. “It’s just an idea that was thrown out there.”

But, “it’s a nice to see the town is initiating something like that and wants to work with us,” Mr. Ewing added. “I think it’s something the businesses should discuss.”

Mr. Minter and Mr. Cerny couldn’t be reached for comment.

The town council two weeks ago voted, 5-2, to approve Warrenton’s fiscal 2019 budget.

Councilmen Sean Polster (At-large) and Jerry Wood (Ward 1) voted against the $34.2-million spending plan — the largest in town history — because of its reliance on cash reserves. 

Several council members, including Mr. Wood, also questioned doubling the contribution to $40,000 for Experience Old Town Warrenton, the Main Street program. 

Though he took no position on the Kravetz concept, Mr. Wood expressed misgivings about the extent to which the council might support a Broadview Avenue business group, if one ever got established and sought town funding.

“I already voted against the one uptown,” the councilman said of his objection to the $40,000 donation to EOTW. “The next two to five years, we’re going to have very little new income coming in. I’m concerned about that.”

The fiscal 2019 budget, which takes effect July 1, includes $246,665 in contributions to 24 organizations.
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