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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or pgould@freelancestar.com. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com.

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Mayor concerned about downtown

Matt Kelly hosted Stafford Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Dudenhefer on his radio show this morning. Much of the conversation focused on Stafford’s Comprehensive Plan and the density of development that plan calls for. Something in that discussion sparked a reaction from Mayor Tom Tomzak (whose spell-check program is apparently not working).

He sent this e-mail out to council members, then to the local media, this morning. Some of this is similar to comments Tomzak made at last week’s City Council work session, during a short and fruitless discussion of the proposed Oktoberfest event in September.

At that meeting, when Councilman George Solley started asking questions about the event, Tomzak reiterated a point he has made many times–that events like Oktoberfest are necessary to building up the city’s downtown as a revenue generator–and then said that last year, “In retrospect I wish we had had a straight up-or-down vote on this” so that council members would have had to make clear their positions on the event.

Below is the e-mail Tomzak sent today:

FYI

This AM on Matts show I heard Mark Dudenhoffer talk about “downtown Stafford”.

I as you did receive an invitation to the opening of Spotsy town center.Both of these activities are aimed @ the customer base we need to attract.

These enerprizes are going forward by proffitt oriented entrepenures who risk their own capitol but supported by local government which recognizes the need for a municipal revenue stream .

Council goes thru a excrcuciating budget sessipon where we allocate our scarce resources. But then we pitter patter on the revenue issue the rest of the year.

I have not heard one idea for an event  come forward from any Caroline St buisness person accompanied by the needed capital since last October. I have not received any additional ideas on events from Council.

On the good news side the 312 year old family oriented “dog mart” is returning.The marathon is a growing success. Via Colori should be helpful.

One of you expressed concern that all of the events are downtown. Yes they are because that is where the good people of Fredericksburg established their commercial Streetrs long ago & that is where they still

Supply extra services such as plow & haul to facilitate commerce for the common good.

FAN–CC [Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center] is a great asset but look at the inconvenice it produced in it neighborhood.

Feel free to share this . I have shared this with the media to help prevent ” rumors”

UPDATE (2:30 p.m.): Mayor Tomzak has sent out an edited version of his original e-mail. Here it is:

FYI

This morning on Matt Kelly’s radio show I heard Mark Dudenhefer talk about “downtown Stafford”.

I, as you did, received an invitation to the opening of the Spotsylvania Towne Center. Both of these activities are aimed @ the customer base we need to attract.

These enterprises are going forward by profit oriented entrepreneurs who risk their own capital but are supported by local government which recognizes the need for a municipal revenue stream.

Council goes through an excruciating budget session where we allocate our scarce resources. But then we pitter patter on the revenue issue the rest of the year.

I have not heard one idea for an event come forward from any Caroline Street business person accompanied by the needed capital since last October. I have not received any additional ideas on events from Council.

On the good news side, the 312 year-old family oriented “Dog Mart” is returning. The Marine Corp Historic Half Marathon is a continuing and growing success. Via Colori should be helpful.

One of you expressed concern that all of the events are downtown. Yes they are because that is where the good people of Fredericksburg established their streets of commerce long ago and that is where the good people of Fredericksburg, today, commit extra resources like plough and haul to facilitate commerce for the common good.

FAMCC is a great asset but look at the inconvenience it produced in the surrounding neighborhood, when the remodeling was taking place.

Feel free to share this.

I have shared this with the media to help prevent rumors from being started.

Tom

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/citybeat/2010/06/15/mayor-concerned-about-downtown/

  • Kelly

    Mr Tomzak is correct in my opinion. I have lived in the Fredericksburg area for 10 years and downtown is why I am still here. I love the history and shops and the people. I wondered why none of the stores sponsored any events to speak of or cause the public to notice much. Then last year CAH sponsored the Oktoberfest which brought in tons of people both new and old to the downtown area. As I understand there has always been a standing request for business owners to do something big to do just that. So why are people complaining about more business. Do the owners not want our business or is it because it happens to involve drinking? If the people of Fredericksburg didnt like it last year CAH wouldnt be asking to have another. Due to the fact they are asking for more room tells me it was a fantastic success and profitable. Last time I checked people owned stores to make a profit. So why the problem with this event? Thank you Mr Tomzak, some of us appreciate the work you do.

  • Steven

    I find it ironic that a “reporter” at the FLS would make light of Mayor Tomzak’s spelling and grammar considering the atrocious writing and lack of actual reporting carried out by the news paper.

  • havingfun

    Was there any questioning of Dudenhefer regarding his plans for the School funds that the the BOS withheld until mid-year “review”? Any questioning about his comments to School Board members insinuating that the money would be kept from them unless they did what the BOS wanted them to do in regards to the joint audit or any other topic?

  • http://www.google.com Einstein

    Downtown Fredericksburg cannot, and indeed should not, attempt to directly compete with national franchises or retails chains. Any effort to do so will enviably fail. So then how do we compete?

    We create our own arena.

    Downtown’s economic potential and value resides in its uniqueness, its charm, and its possession of genuine American history – a mix so rare as to be absolutely stunning.
    The dolts who yammer on about the antique shops should be ignored and given directions to the nearest Mall where they can mingle with the other zombies in the homogenous synthetic blandlands created by corporate America.

    The challenge for Fredericksburg is the current fatal absence of marketing, advertising and public relations.

    To put it simply: people do not know we exist.

    When people do encounter downtown, either by accident or design, they are pleasantly surprised and utterly enamored. And they spend money on items they have seen nowhere else and patronize establishment that exist nowhere else. People will seek out the “something different.” Something different has value. Things that are rare are considered precious.

    Corporate America realizes this which is why they attempt to replicate and package its own version (to wit: Spotysylvania “Town Center.”)

    And we have it, here, in an authentic form. How cool is that? How valuable is that! Fredericksburg just has to light the beacon to show the way.

  • Fredtastic

    I agree with the Mayor as well. I have yet to hear a good argument from anyone who is opposed to events such as the Oktoberfest event sponsored by CAH. Seriously – if you are opposed, why? Why is it viewed so negatively. The shop owners should be thanking them in my opinion for the reasons that Einstein expressed.

  • Fredville

    I agree with the Mayor as well. We do have a wonderful and unique venue downtown and wouldn’t it be fantastic if it was a vibrant and useful one as well? I have lived in Fredericksburg proper for 21 years now and grew up in one of the surrounding counties. The merchants downtown most likely don’t want you bringing in revenue to the area because that will attract the kind of businesses downtown that we all long for……..ones that are actually open when you want to shop, more than just a few that actually sell things of interest, etc. So I say, go for it! REVIVE our city’s downtown.
    And good for you Mayor Tomzak for not allowing complacency to be the norm!

  • Agentofchange

    I also find it amusing that merchants are complaining about the event growing when two w/ends ago a classic car show took up almost the entire length of Caroline street. Did not hear anyone making a fuss about that.

  • Tredmill

    Is the Mayor illiterate? All I see him doing is blowing hot air. He says nothing. Where are HIS ideas? Isn’t he supposed to be the leader?

  • rufus

    We need a new Mayor. Instead of downtown, why not hold the events in Mayfield, or Bragg Hill? Why not have the Fall Octoberfest drinkathon at the Bragg Hill ballfield? The mayor
    could pay for the kegs of refreshments, free for the residents.

  • ellis

    Steven,
    I agree with you. Low blow for a reporter who is soft on hard news.

  • Pingback: Morning Buzz – June 16, 2010 - City Beat

  • Einstein

    A note of clarification: few, if any, merchants opposed the Oktoberfest event itself. Yes, it made good copy, and people got to be righteously indigent and incredulous about merchants, “not wanting business to come downtown. ” Simply not true.

    The issue many had concerned lack of communication, operational details and inclusion in the event. All avoidable mistakes and easily remedied, as evidenced by the planning for O’Fest II.

    The Burgermeister Meisterburger’s point remains valid: get creative, take the initiative and come up with events and promotions to entice folks to come downtown. And then publicize them!!

    The software industry has saying: “innovate or die.” The Geeks maybe on to something.

  • Concerned

    Many downtown merchants are not against Octoberfest. They are mainly concerned with the fence, possible six feet this year, that is put around Caroline Street so it is difficult for anyone to get to their businesses. The car show and other events does not have this requirement.

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