Ravlin wants new businesses, new residents

By Cynthia Prairie

Tami Wilkins Ravlin will tell you quite honestly that she’s a bit nervous. After all, the Chester native has never run for public office. And despite her background in accounting and information technology, she knows she’s got a learning curve to master should she be elected to the Select Board. She is seeking a one-year seat, one of two up for vote on Tuesday, March 5.

Tami Ravlin

Tami Ravlin

Ravlin, who grew up on Grafton Street and now lives on Hidden Heights Road, says that she recently left the IT field to work part-time at a local pub to spend more time with her husband and their two daughters, who are 10 and 14.

“I decided to run because there needs to be a change on the Select Board,” Ravlin says during an interview at a local restaurant.

“I don’t want a Dollar General here,” she adds matter-of-factly. “We have one in Springfield. We have local businesses that are great. It would take away from Lisai’s … the Chester Hardware.”

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want economic growth, she says. “I want to see more local(ly owned) businesses, more on Main Street,” which, she added, needs to be thriving.

“I don’t want a Dollar General here … It would take away from Lisai’s … the Chester Hardware. … I want to see more local(ly owned) businesses, more on Main Street.”

Tami Ravlin

“I would like to see long-term businesses in town that would provide community support, and have community awareness through the Internet, brochures and newsletters to allow the voters and the public to become more aware of what there town is about,” she says.

But as for new construction for those new businesses, Ravlin says she would like new businesses to fill empty buildings before new construction is undertaken, “unless it is necessary.”

Too many young leave

Ravlin, who is concerned that too many young people are leaving Chester for jobs elsewhere, considers bringing in new business her most important job on the Select Board. She says that only a few of those students she graduated high school with remain in town, so good-paying jobs and “more awareness of a community life” can help.

Young people, she writes in an email, offer “revenue, fresh ideas and a family life.” She says she spoke with a woman whose daughter moved to Chester from Boston just to raise their family.

“There (are) a lot of residents that are retired here,” she says, so it would be “great to get a younger generation that grew up here or are new to the area to bring in fresh ideas and businesses.”

To do so, she would like to see the town promoted to the outside world using “social media so that the public is aware of the quaint inns and businesses in Chester.”

Ravlin spoke briefly of the biomass heating plant proposed for the North Springfield Industrial Park, which she called a “difficult issue. …There will be a lot of trucks going through out town … adding to the pollution and traffic congestion.”

She adds, “I also want to run because I want to know what the issues are” then influence the outcome in a positive manner.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor for 30 years, having worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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