Opinion: Big Box Clarke?

by Sarge

Let me boil this down for folks from the perspective of a person that was born and raised in Clarke but who also left for 25 years to serve our country.

When I was growing up, Clarke County was booooring. Couldn’t wait to leave. In fact, when I went to the recruiter I told him “If you can get me out of here in a month, I’m yours”. The recruiter asked if I was running from the law and I said, “No, I’m running form a small town”. I’m sure it’s no different for kids in Clarke County today. There’s a whole big world out there that isn’t boring.

Clarke Daily News - Opinion & Editorial

It took a few years for me to realize that almost every kid in every town in America thinks their hometown is lame. I’ve met people from Alaska to Arkansas to New York and it was all the same story. All the action was happening somewhere else. I guess it’s all part of growing up.

But something strange happened over the years. The longer I was away, the less lame Clarke County seemed. Especially in light of what I had seen in my travels. True poverty. True lameness. People without even a pot to piss in. Literally. Crime in the bigger cities.

And as I became a parent and started watching my kids grow, I started thinking that the place I ran from really wasn’t that bad at all. I remember growing up being able to walk the streets and ride our bikes , even at night, and not having to worry about pervs or dope dealers or being shot. Didn’t even cross my mind. I remember starting kindergarten and graduating with the same people, most of whom I remain friends with to this day. We didn’t have the nicest school, but we didn’t know any better either. And it worked out just fine for most of us, even without the college programs and all the extras that are available now. We played sports and hung out with friends and goofed off like all kids do, and most of us turned out OK. All of that was a large part of my formative years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And sure the county has problems, to include the good ol’ boys and a host of other issues. But let me clue you in on something.

Every place has problems.

Even when I was stationed in Hawaii, a virtual paradise, they had their problems. Get outside the tourist façade that everyone thinks of when they think of Hawaii, and you’ll find that among other things they have a huge meth problem, schools there are underfunded and almost Third World in nature. The list goes on and on. And kids there think it’s lame too. In other words, the palm trees are not always greener.

But all in all, I’ll say that a lot of folks don’t realize how good they have it in Clarke. It was nice to come home on leave and have people remember your name. Have people stop and talk to you. Intangibles like that are the exception, not the rule in this world.

And yes, it’d be nice to have a big, shining primo school and world class teachers, but the county just isn’t geared that way for the reasons that have been hashed over in this thread.

But in every situation in life, there’s a choice. You either do what you can to make the situation better, or you turn around and walk away.

For those of you that want WalMarts and KMarts and all that other stuff I ask you, “Really?” Have you not seen the goatrope that is Winchester on a Saturday morning? Can you imagine that traffic in Berryville? I mean all that stuff is just 20 minutes up the road. Isn’t nice after getting mixed up in that zoo to come back to someplace that’s peaceful?

Once you start down that slippery slope, all that you know will be gone forever.

I’ve seen first hand towns like Berryville in similar situations. Mt Home Idaho didn’t even have a Mickey D’s when I got there in the early 90’s. Now it has all the stuff people wish for and the place is a zoo. Biloxi Ms was a backwater burg that brought in casinos. Sure the schools are well funded now, but along with the casinos came crime and corruption. Sleepy Goldsboro NC brought in Lowes and Home Depot and every restaurant known to mankind.Aand now it’s chaos on the roads.

Be careful what you wish for. Especially when you have it 20 minutes up the road

Now, with that said, there certainly is some room for compromise IMO. Heck, I was saying 25 years ago that they needed a company like Micky D’s, someplace where kids could work and the county could levy taxes, but would not draw people from across the region to move here. There has been movement in that area, but it’s been in Waterloo instead of town.

A large number of people (myself included) drive right by town on the way home at night. As someone mentioned, it’d be nice to have a store to stop in on the way to Winchester to pick up certain items. A larger Food Lion or like store with a pharmacy would be nice. And I suspect that if that pharmacy had longer hours, the downtown merchants would likely expand their hours to compete. Or not. But it would be up to them.

As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there. Just an idea. People have no problem shipping their kids off the private schools and shelling out those bucks. But they don’t want ot pay more for public schools

Most importantly, get up and do something. I know everyone is busy nowadays, but voting doesn’t take that much effort. If you don’t like the people that are running things, vote them out or better yet, run yourself. Do something besides whine on a message board.

But please, whatever you do, THINK before you vote and before you lose something that a lot of you don’t realize you have.

“Sarge” is an anonymous reader who frequently posts comments on Clarke Daily News stories


  1. “…As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there. ”

    Where do they do this? Are the schools, trachers, and taxpayers happy with this arrangement? How much more should the users pay than the non-users? It’s an interesting option, but I’d like to hear more about the logistics of it. This whole discussion started because our teachers have not received a pay raise in 2 years now. I think that’s terrible!

  2. This.

    Especially …

    “As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there. Just an idea.”

    So I’ve done a good bit of Googling on the notion and so far have come up empty searching under ‘graduated property taxes for parents with students in school’ or ‘user fees.’

    Anybody have any examples?

  3. I’ll have to look it up. It’s been almost twenty years ago and it was either while I was stationed in Mississippi or Idaho. I didn’t really pay that much attenion to it at the time because my son was young and not in the public schools, but I thought it to be a unique solution to a big problem. I seem to remember it being on a voluntary basis(?) as not everyone could afford the increase. But it did have a lot of takers it seems and I don’t ever recall anyone complaining

    I’ll see if I can find it tonight

    • Jim Harper says:

      For a few years after College, I lived in Hungington, Long Island. They had a “STAR” Program (forget the acronym). But since I had no children in Public Schools, I received a break on my property taxes. IMHO, an ideal world for property taxes and city services should be like Water..the more you use the more you pay. It’s probably difficult to operationally make this happen. However, I remember feeling the STAR program was very equitable.

  4. Change is necessary and I didn’t vote for Obama. This is the 21st century. If no one can accept change there will be no progress in the Town of Berryville nor Clarke for that matter.

    “Most importantly, get up and do something. I know everyone is busy nowadays, but voting doesn’t take that much effort. If you don’t like the people that are running things, vote them out or better yet, run yourself. Do something besides whine on a message board.”

    This is not whining, this board is open for opinions. We are in agreement on one item, voting, and that is accomplished with diversity.

    The Town and Clarke must let in the businesses that are willing to move here, let those businesses take some of the brunt of taxes .

    “As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there.”

    It will be interesting if you can find it. This is not a mere solution to the problem.

    What difference does it make in regards to congestion of traffic or “goatrope” as you say. It’s done everyday across America CHANGE.

    Either you grow from change or you stand still and do nothing.

    • It’s important to remember what it is you want to change …


    • What difference does it make in regards to congestion of traffic or “goatrope” as you say. It’s done everyday across America CHANGE

      Again I ask, why would anyone want that in Berryville? Drive over to Leesburg and sit in that mess

      • Yes Sarge, and I do. Leesburg, not Winchester, they got that light timing thing down and way better stores. And yes, it is so good to top that mountain and see our lovely, backwards, good-old-boy, county below. If you want change there is one sure fire way to get it and mine is much quicker than voting and waiting. Sarge tried my way. At least he had something to come back to.

      • What mess?, what is wrong with Leesburg traffic?, nothing, open your mind to change.

        Berryville/Clarke needs more businesses retail/grocery/pharmacy so with that comes traffic, get over it. Let the businesses in to benefit the tax revenue and ease some of the taxes upon the taxpayer.

        The County will then be able to support the COLA’s for the educators. What is so awful about this? nevermind, the question is rescinded change is not something everyone wants.

        Sarge there was never a response in regards to “As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there.” “I’ll see if I can find it tonight”

        Did by chance you find that option?

        • UNfortunately…..no. This was happening int eh early 90’s, pre-internet. I’m afraid that without paying to get into the archieves of the local papers I may not be able to find it. But I’lll keep looking and post it when and if I do.

          Here’s the thing. You seem to have no problems with the goatrope that is Leesburg traffic. More power to you. I commute every day to DC and drive in that mess. Believe me, the day I don’t have to do it anymore will be a happy day.

          I guess it boils down to what the people want. Do they want Mayberry with Winchester right up the road, or do they want Winchester lite?

          Personally, I’d rather drive to a mess than to have to drive in it

          • Fact Checker says:

            I have done some googling on the idea of increased property taxes for parents of public school students, and like Mr. Specht, have come up empty. However, I did find a report titled “Fiscal Stress and Voluntary Contributions to Public Schools”, authored by Eric Brunner from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and Jennifer Imazeki from San Diego State University. The authors discuss property taxes, PTAs, PTOs, booster clubs, and educational foundations, and although they studied California for their report, I believe their conclusions could probably be applied to other areas of the country as well.

            Here is the link to the full document:


            For those who don’t have time to read the full 21-page report, here is a copy of the Abstract:

            Abstract In the wake of school finance reforms that limit local tax revenue and, more recently, state budget cuts that have threatened K-12 education spending, an increasing number of schools and school districts have appealed to parents and communities for voluntary contributions to augment school resources. Of course, not all schools benefit equally from these contributions leading to a common concern that voluntary contributions create inequities in school funding across communities. In this paper we examine the size and distribution of voluntary contributions to California’s K-12 public schools in 2001. We explore how the characteristics of those schools that have been most successful in raising voluntary contributions differ from other schools and consider one potential explanation for why the use of voluntary contributions is not more widespread.

            Here is their conclusion:

            Conclusion The rise in voluntary contributions to public schools over the last few decades, and particularly the surge in contributions during recent months in response to budget cuts, has helped many schools and districts to purchase and maintain programs that would not have been otherwise possible. In California, where the school finance system does not allow local communities much flexibility in educational spending, fundraising is one of the few instruments available to parents trying to obtain a higher quality of education for their children. But when some communities are able to raise significant amounts and others are not, concerns naturally arise about the equitable distribution of funds and the resources they buy. In this paper, we set out to ascertain whether such concerns are warranted by examining the size and distribution of contributions across students in California.

            We find that although contributions are highest in high-income schools and school districts, the majority of students attend schools where contributions per pupil are relatively small. Even in the richest communities, fewer than a quarter of the schools raise more than $100 per pupil. This can be explained, in part, by the fact that when school spending is financed through voluntary contributions, the marginal price of that spending increases with the number of students. Therefore, larger schools, even if higher-income, will have a more difficult time raising significant contributions. Not surprisingly then, we see contributions primarily concentrated in schools that are both wealthy and small.

            Thus, although it is true that a small number of schools raise large amounts of voluntary contributions, and it is likely that such schools will continue to receive much media attention, it does not appear that these contributions have led to large inequalities in the distribution of revenue across most schools. Furthermore, because the voluntary nature of private donations means that they are subject to free-riding which increases the price of spending per pupil for larger districts, it seems unlikely that contributions will ever be the source of wide-scale disruptions in the distribution of revenue across communities.

            The authors attempted to provide an answer to the question, why isn’t the use of voluntary contributions more widespread? They report that attempting to raise significant sums of money through voluntary contributions may be of limited appeal to all but the smallest and wealthiest schools and school districts.

          • Fly on the wall says:

            Exactly. Were we to seriously consider Carolyn Kruza’s idea of tapping PTO fundraisers to help prop up school employee salaries, it would dry up or seriously cut back on most all other fundraising – for the EAA, the band boosters, the PTOs’ other programs, the CCEF, everyone would feel the pinch. That is, presuming that the fundraising for employee salaries is supported.

            Like a spider’s web glistening on this chilly pre-Halloween night, these elements are interconnected. You cannot provide adequate funds if the revenue base isn’t there; you can’t build the revenue base if you obstinately hold to archaic or no-longer-effective zoning practices. Yes, our schools are top-notch, but that quality WILL erode if the funding needs are not addressed.

            Clarke already has a reputation as “penny wise but pound foolish” with a knack for doing things on the cheap; just look at the much-ballyhooed Joint Judicial Center and all of its design flaws that STILL are not resolved a year after opening (no panic bars on the exit doors, though the regs clearly call for them? Really?!?). Look at the current joke of a high school, cut in size and usability by the BoS pennypinchers 24 years ago.

            There’s no decent hotel in the entire county, so anyone who might wish to stay overnight have a few B&Bs, the Battletown Inn, and the Mountain View Motel. clarke’s officials are content to allow its residents to travel to other jurisdictions to purchase necessities, when they want to spend the money locally. What is there locally for them? No “new” clothing or shoe store, other than niche little shops. 1 family-owned pharmacy with rather inconvenient hours. 1 eyeglass place. 1 grocery store in the entire county. A bevy of restaurants, though. More retail downtown? Where? How would the trucks get there for deliveries?

          • Jim Harper says:

            Here is the Town of Huntington STAR program.:

  5. Fly on the wall says:

    A graduated tax structure, with more burden falling on those with kdis in the system? Really?!? Schoolsa re arguably the most important investment in the children, and thus the future, of Clarke County. It is everybody’s responsibility to do their share.

    You are just throwing up your hands on not having “a primo school or world class teachers” because it’s not what CC can do? It IS what CC can do, and what it must do. A 21st-Century level of quality education and service requires a budget and revenue stream built for the 21st Century, not the “Leave It to Beaver” 1950s.

    The Town of Berryville might have 250+ parking spaces, but they are sread out that they’re not really conducive to to maximizing downtown economic enterprises. Likewise, the current facilities downtown are so limited in size (and the monopolies so fiercely maintained) that more retail options are slim to none. The BoS has made it clear that there will be no development north of Rt.7, nor south on 340, so that limits that area to the town. True, there is development @ Waterloo, but it is so restricted that nothing of substance has been willing to locate there. The same will be seen @ Double Tollgate.

    There is a way to find a happy medium. I’m all for rolling hills and the life bucolic, but I’m also for finding the funds necessary to fund the schools adequately, maintain a quality library, meet the needs of the Sheriff’s office, and other necessaries.

    • “A 21st-Century level of quality education and service requires a budget and revenue stream built for the 21st Century, not the “Leave It to Beaver” 1950s.”

      Are the kids not receiving that now? Does CC not rank in the top tier of schools?

      Look, I hear what you’re saying. It be great to have businesses that could relieve the citizens of the tax burden they presently carry.

      All I’m saying I have yet to see, anywhere, where once that process gets going it stops at a resonable place. Once you change the zoning to let Lowes in here, Home Depot is gonna want to come as well. Same with CVS and Walgreens and everything else.

      Look at the proliferation in Frederick County. We have good ol’ boys up here as well, but instead of getting/staying rich off the land, they get rich by tapping into all the building they allow.

      What is the lesser of the two evils?

  6. Sarge Willis says:

    I completely agree with Sarge on the small town, slow growth, idea. I drive to DC every day and so look forward to coming over that mountian in the evening. I grew up in Arlington and started raising a family there. That is until I woke up one day with the relization that I was afraid to let my kids play in the front yard. Luckly my lovely wife’s family had a long history in Clarke County and it was a no brainer to move out here and do the commute, 25 years later and I’d do it again in a minute.
    As for the tax idea, my kids are long out of CC public schools and are the better for it. I would support a small increase in EVERYONE’s taxes to better paid our hard working teacher within the school system.

  7. Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

    Let’s see!! Loudoun & Leesburg lots of growth & lots of retail locations.

    Combined tax rates for real estate $149.5.

    The [redacted] county of Clarke & Town of Berryville tax rates
    for real estate combined 73.6 cents.

    Sure seems to be working well to the east of us.

  8. Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

    Fly I know what you are saying, but that is my point. With all that growth comes all those schools, & business/commerical growth still doesn’t keep the tax rate low.

    • I think we need to add valuable growth to Clarke/Berryville. Things that will benefit the people of Clarke Co. I really believe that people would really benefit with a CVS/Walgreens and some type of Fast Food restaraunt. (I say this without using the tax revenue factor into the equation)

      • jobs would add value … smart growth … jobs that pay reasonable wages…
        places like CVS/Walgreens and stores like them do add revenue, but lack in the area of better paying jobs…

      • Clark County would NOT benefit from a CVS or Walgreens or Fast Food Joint. If you want one of those on your block move to Fredrick or Loudon County. Don’t Loudoun CLARKE COUNTY. WE don’t need the crime or the illegals that come from these places. We already have enough hiring of illegals in Clarke County.

        • Kevin Lambert says:

          Yo Cochise, could you please explain to me why CC would not benefit from adding a CVS/Walgreens? Or a Mcdonalds? I hardly believe adding 1 store would “Loudoun”, Clarke…. Geez!!!!!

        • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

          Yeah…I’m sure CVS/Walgreens hires a lot of illegal immigrants to distribute their pharmaceuticals! Nice response!

        • The Shocker says:

          This is ludicrous. I would love to know your sources on CVS/Walgreens illegal alien hiring. Personally, I would love to have an option to purchase a prescription late in the evening when most parents get home from work and are dealing with potential emergencies. Berryville supported two pharmacies for a long time and if allowed, could do so again. That is the great thing about the United States, we are in a competitive marketplace and it is always disappointing when as a town, we don’t allow that competition to occur. Competition brings better pricing for the consumer (which we could all benefit from) and better service. If Berryville chooses to not support box stores, show it with your wallet and they will leave….but they deserve the opportunity.

          • Two pharmacies survived in Berryville for a long time because they were on an even playing field. Both were small, downtown businesses. Neither had the goal of putting the other out of business.

            Neither was open Sundays or late at night. They were open for as long as the doctors in town were seeing patients.

            No one is preventing another pharmacy from opening downtown just like before. It is not about preventing competition it is about promoting one style of development over another – that is preserving a downtown, walkable environment rather than box store/strip mall sprawl. If a box style national chain drugstore were to open, they would surely immediately use temporary low prices to get everyone shopping there and once they killed the competition, their prices would go up. That is what happened when Food Lion came to town. We had two places to shop for groceries for maybe a year before the A&P went out of business. As soon as that happened, FL raised their prices and began cutting back on the choices.

            It is either box store/strip mall sprawl or a historic downtown. This town is not big enough to support both. The Waterloo area seems ripe for that style of development though – Dbl. Tollgate too.

          • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

            You just made my point!…It is sad to say that Double Tollgate and Waterloo have more to offer than Berryville! I guess I’ll keep enjoying the great walking environment of good ole downtown Berryville!

          • the point is that if you MUST have a CVS, Target, Walmart, McDonalds, etc. than you are going to drive to it anyway. drive to double tollgate. you will keep the tax base in the county and not trash Berryville.

          • Kevin Lambert says:

            Ann, you are killing me? How would that trash Berryville? If you wanna talk trashing Berryville, we could sit here for hours. But adding 1, just 1 business wouldn’t trash it. It would only help in many ways. Sounds to me, that you may have a little conflict of interest here. I have lived here for 33 years and have never heard one person say they didn’t wish for something to come here, so they didn’t have to drive to Winchester for. You keep drinking the Kool-Aid…. And watch all the money continue to flow into Winchester and Frederick, and wonder why every month or so we have these discussions…..

          • The Shocker says:

            I doubt anyone really wants another pharmacy as before. I want someplace that is open during non-business hours and will carry a multitude of products to save time and more importantly, money. How about E. of the railroad tracks. Isn’t that entire area zoned commercial? We have a True Value, a pizza joint, convenience store, car shop etc… would a box store be out of place there? How about the N. end of 340 where Food Lion, another car shop, a parts store, a body shop etc… all exist. I doubt that a box store would ruin the aesthetics there.

            The additional tax base would sure help school construction, water and sewer fees and several other issues. Currently, Berryville loses a large portion of retail sales to connecting counties due to not having the stores available.

            Is it about preserving downtown Berryville or protecting the “grandfathers” of the town?

  9. i’ve only lived in clarke for years now… i moved from the monster of the east.

    during the first year here i told people who asked about clarke county… the truth
    i said it’s a nice friendly place and a no growth mindset. now after the first year i came to a new thought… i don’t want new people or more people … so now when i’m asked about clarke county … i say it’s full of crazy people and it’s not a place you want to move to… go jsut a bit further west and you’ll be near all the stores and such…

    i agree with sarge … speaking from a life time of experience of watching a place i loved , become a place i almost hate to see now , due to the life syle changes growth has on a small town. if you think it won’t change? it will and it can never be the same. i’ll drive the 15 minutes west if i can’t find it close by. let them have the growth and the headaches that come with it.

  10. geezlouise says:

    Although a Trader Joe’s in some hidden nook would attract some buyers instead of having that godawful food lion.

    What’s so wrong about a little more business esp those that might attract buyers on the way home?

    I know we have all those traffic stops as revenue but think outside the “big” box” for petesake.

    Except for the locals, this county is viewed as a dead end. And that is a shame

    • Jim Harper says:

      I think we need to remember that the conversation started with a focus on improving Teacher’s Salaries and improving school equipment. Both are much needed. If you want to provide your children with a competitive advantage in the world, they need a quality education. I know first hand I was given the tools to succeed in this world in Clarke and it important that this and future generations have the same. Clarke has changed a lot since 1993. If you want to attract and retain good teachers, you need to be able to offer competitive salaries. When the tradesmen/women say they need new equipment to do their jobs its for the good of us all to support them. The ones who pay the ultimate price are the children. Technology is rapidly changing…employers and higher education schools don’t give a “Small Town Exception” to minimum qualifications–so Clarke needs to keep up.

      Funding for these programs will come from Property Taxes or Business Taxes (or Federal Funding–which we all pay taxes towards anyway). Increasing the Business Tax base will prevent the increase to Property Taxes no one wants.

      Smart growth of the business tax base is critical to supporting more than just education. Infrastructure improvements also need to be paid for by both the Town/County. I suggest anyone who wants to take a real look at these challenges and make changes read the book “BoomTown”…7 1/2keys to big success in small town.

      Bottom line, there is nothing more important than a quality education. It impacts every aspect of a community…from home values to employability. Finding a way to intelligently grow the business tax base will prevent higher property taxes…its simple math. If you don’t want to increase the business tax base you pay more in property taxes–or everyone suffers.

      • “I think we need to remember that the conversation started with a focus on improving Teacher’s Salaries and improving school equipment. Both are much needed. ”

        i’m with ya , heck i added a thumbs up to your reply… i’m just adding

        equipment , the monster to the east has a surplus store… they sell off the computers they replace… make a deal with them … they are not the greatest but they are a cost savings. you can buy three at the price of one.

        in some countries they don’t have computers to use in the class room the teacher teaches the students how to use a computer on a blackboard.

        having the latest and greatest does not always make the best product.

        my point is careful use of the funds available can yield better results for the students and teachers. wasteful spending is a killer…

        i would volunteer my time building/ repairing / upgrading computers
        solutions are always there if we look.

        • Doug Landry says:

          Wasteful spending? Use funds carefully? This is the CCPS budget we’re talkin about – the one nearly $2 million has been cut from in the past 2 years. There is no wasteful spending in it. I don’t think the folks are lookin for the “latest and greatest” – they’re talkin about gettin decent and reliable.

          • ” $2 million has been cut from in the past 2 years ”

            20,903,923 adopted 2009

            $19,358,114 adopted 2010

            $945,809 is the difference ( that has been cut from the budget )

            proposed 2011 budget


            at 2154 students = $9092 per student

            the state of virginia average of per cost per student is $8725 ranked 37th of all states


            i’m not against a raise for teachers… i am against raising taxes without a clear direction of where the extra revenues what they’ll be used for… if the reason is for a raise for the teachers … ok , but not for administrators and those in the lets use for an example paid above 60k a year…would not be included in the raise.

            there are always places in a budget that could be changed/reduced
            and just because it’s on the budget line does not mean it has to be spent either.

  11. geezlouise says:

    Ok, if not a trader joe’s here’s a thought. We’ve numerous small produce, meat,eggs, and cheese businesses in this county. How about a co-op store where people can go and shop? Hopefully with minimal rent, and signs to direct those on the highway to this place? It sure wouldn’t compete with Food Lion’s meat, which I don’t buy.

    Not big box…but different!

    Especially since there will soon be no regular weekly Farmer’s Market.

    • this idea could be started now. the local farmers could organize this.
      it might take a short bit of time to get off the ground. the auction place on the east side of the railroad tracks would possibly offer a solution? blanket the county with mailers. maybe each saturday ?

      and yes not big box thinking , more like outside the box thinking.

    • Trader Joe’s would be Great! And it would fit right in with the small town atmosphere.

  12. Ivan Lambert says:

    Oh, boy, where does one begin to comment?
    I grew up in Berryville, and have read all of the above posts, attempting to understand the circumstances of my hometown.

    From the above I understand some of the concerns.

    For whatever it is worth, it might help for everyone to remind themselves that with any change there will be advantages and disadvantages.
    What will be progress for some, will be a disadvantage for some others.
    And regarding change? Absolutely, if there is ever going to be progress in any town, there must be change. In fact, if there is going to be progress in any area of life something must be changed, because more of the same, will always lead to, you guessed it, the same.

    Yet, I caution us, remember that though all progress must come through some sort of change, not all changes lead to progress.

    I wish the best for my ole hometown, and it is my sincere hope, decisions will be bathed in wisdom from many, and that the motives of those who possess political power will always be for the best of its citizens and not the comfort of those who have access to political power.

  13. I grew up in a small town here in Virginia that has since “urbanized”. What a sad sight to watch. As the town modernized, more people moved in, which built quick residential growth to the convenient small town, which created a water shortage and a need for more urbanization. which created the need for a new water facility and new schools, which created a need for more teachers and salaries, which soon created a very large city and county government to support. In this time of economic downturn many of us have looked for smarter ways to use our money since an increase was not in the works. I love the beauty of our countryside and would much rather spend 15 minutes on Rt 7 between Berryville and Winchester going 10 miles and looking at our farms than 15 minutes between Leesburg and Ashburn going 5 and looking at construction sites. There are ways to upgrade our education system and our teachers salaries, we just need to work to find them rather than letting commercialization find the answers for us. I for one don’t think I would like their answers.

  14. I think the real message/take away from this article is if you want to see change, DO something about it. Be an active participant/voice in your community to evoke change.

    A big city commuter who enjoys the reprieve of a small town~

    • I used to enjoy the view of the apple/peach orchards in my backyard. But they are now gone because someone seen the dollar signs and built houses for you big city commuters to come on over…so I don’t think the view of something else will matter! Houses or CVS …. by the way some people upkeep their houses around town…I’d rather look at a CVS.

      • Kevin Lambert says:

        And the people that are complaining the most about not wanting anything here in Berryville, would be the first in line to get their 99 cent double cheeseburger if a McDonalds came here. Same thing about a CVS/Walgreens. They would change pharmacies quick to save that money…….. HAHA

        • Speak for yourself, I haven’t darkened the door of mickey d’s in nearly two decades. Last time i went was to get a teeny beenie baby for my kid who is graduating this year. I had to get something so i got a small nuggets. I go to target sometimes but walmart rarely by choice. I know that is weird but there are others. I do not understand why it is such an inconvenience to drive to double tollgate for that stuff. I would support it and it seems like a reasonable compromise. I guess compromise is too much to ask.

          By the way, I drove to Middleburg today to meet someone and thought about how there is no WM, Target, CVS, etc. from Winchester to South Riding or maybe Chantilly on Rt. 50.

          Then I thought about Rt. 7 – from Rt 81 all of the way to Leesburg. Purcellville has Giant and Bloom and maybe still a IGA (remember those) and a CVS, but a WAY bigger population and a great selection of independent shops in the old town area.

          My desire, vote me down if you wish, would be to try to build our selection of those great little independent shops: clock repair, really cool old time hardware, health food (in town), etc. We could redevelop downtown B’ville. Get rid of some of the unnecessary overhead wires. Encourage property owners with empty, run down store fronts to clean them up and rent them. There is a lot we could do to bring the type of things we want to town while thinking “outside the box” (sorry).

          • Kevin Lambert says:

            Clock Repair? By the way Ann, we aren’t asking for something to be built on the corner of Main and Church, putting something up near Food Lion would be more than sufficient! Thats still probably too close for you though….

          • yup.

          • There is a clock repair in Purcellville. I didn’t just dream that up. We have a leather shop though.

          • Fly on the wall says:

            Do you know what it costs to bury olverhead wires? Think millions, when costs for new sidewalks & such are included. Just look at Winchester’s efforts – great results, but with a cost.

            The simple fact is that, given that parking is off the main drag (Bank of Clarke or behind Main Street near the park) and not conducive to being close to shopping, it’s harder to lure folks downtown. The Barns will help, but that will be sporadic with events there. Since most retail, outside of restaurants, close up shop by 6, evening shoppers (such as those getting home from a commute) don’t have an option.

            Leesburg is able to have some cool niche/specialty shops because the other retail helps offset their low sales and such. If all a town has are the niche shops, there’s little to offset their lower revenue generating capacity, so more pressure is on them and thus a greater chance they won’t stay open.

          • Kevin Lambert says:

            What are you luring them too? The flower shop? The rug shop? Seriously????

  15. River Watcher says:

    Im with you a 100% Sarge…

    I have one question, to the people who are carrying on about raising taxes.

    Are you all homeowners?

  16. livein22611 says:

    Berryville doesn’t have the demographics to support a box store. They would be fighting to get in here if we did. McDonald’s tried once. And parking in the town is ridiculous. Face it, the management of the town is a joke. It’s all in who you know. That’s also why we don’t have more small businesses here. Exceptions are made by the town for certain people. You can blame the county guys all you want but the way the town is run is disgusting. Ya’ll have fun paying those water bills!