Updated: Sep 10
“Tonight is not about what we think you should be doing, it’s about your input on what we think we should do,” said Ray Kroner, to a basement full of Cheviot small business owners. The Cheviot business community was invited to the Public House on August 19, in what is being deemed as the Cheviot Business Alliance. After attending the TAP meeting in April of this year, Kroner expressed that it had dawned on him, stating, “My gosh, the city is making an effort to revitalize our business district, and we have no representation at the table for that conversation,” continuing with “I think that’s a shortcoming from our side,”
Kroner did an excellent job setting the tone for the meeting looking inward, rather than looking to point fingers at the city’s officials’ shortcomings. Pete Rebold followed Kroner’s lead explaining why a business alliance is needed in the first place. If the private sector wants to see a better Cheviot, then why not just donate the money directly to the city? “People don’t like giving money to politicians, I know, I use to be one,” said Rebold. The Kroner, Rebold, two punch combo was a strong message, a good one, and the right one. However, as things often do when large amounts of people gather in one place, the focus of the meeting can tend to drift away at times. There seems to be a misconception from some in the Cheviot business community that the city government is not their friend, but foe. That government is largely in the way, rather than extending a helpful hand. They look around Harrison Avenue and see the ‘same ole, same ole.’ They don’t know who the Economic Director for the city is, and why they even have a job. I get it; I’ve wondered the same many times before. Of course, that was before I knew what I was talking about. I say this as someone critical of City Council, the Mayor’s office, and government in general. It’s important to remember, in government, legislation is proposed, debated, passed or not passed, hearings are held, there is a process. That process exists to protect you, the taxpayer, and although that process may move at a snail’s pace or so it seems, its existence is essential.
For the past year and a half, I’ve covered the happenings of this city’s council. During this time, I’ve realized quite a few things. Firstly, all the city’s public officials hold those positions because they want what is best for this city. You may not always agree with their opinion on an issue; I certainly do not, but they drive over the same potholes that you or I do. They walk the same streets, and they visit the same businesses. To suggest they don’t have any skin in this game is completely absurd. Secondly, party politics largely is non-existent for this council. This wasn’t always the case in Cheviot. During an election year, yes, maybe some of that rears its ugly head a little, but by and large, most would have a challenging time picking out who is a Republican and who is a Democrat. This is a good thing. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, this council and the Mayor’s office listens to its residents; I’ve seen it happen firsthand. Councilwoman Hardig attended the Business Alliance meeting. I think it’s undoubtedly clear why she would do such a thing; she has a stake in this community. I don’t want to suggest that it was the majority opinion at this meeting that the city is working against business owners. Still, there was a sense of those opinions scattered throughout the room. I’ll reiterate what Councilwoman Hardig said to some of those voices, “why do you assume they (council) wouldn’t listen?” The fact of the matter is they will. As I looked around the room that evening, I was astonished at the turnout. The TAP meeting was very well attended, as well. This is very promising for the City of Cheviot. The pieces are here. As the different business owners introduced themselves, the glimmers of their skillsets came to the forefront. As I said, the ingredients to something great is already here; what comes out of that is up to the people within those four walls of that meeting, and the residents that call this square mile home. Much like Ray Kroner, I don’t have the answers, I have more questions than answers, but I know it starts here, not at City Hall. They are already on our team, and it’s easier to swim with the current than against it.