Having grown up in Patrick County, Virginia, Joseph Quesenberry commented that he liked the small town feel of Warsaw. A VCU graduate in political science where he is also a current Master’s degree candidate in Public Administration, he describes himself as a work horse. He sees his job as town manager of Warsaw as fulfilling the potential that exists here.
Quesenberry became town manager in November 2016 after spending time working for Morgan Quicke, Richmond County administrator, in the area of planning and building. Although the current projects he has for the town of Warsaw are extensive, he stated he is most excited about the marketing end of his job. “First we build it up and then we show it off,” is how he looks at the future of the town.
“I have been given a blank canvas to work with,” said Quesenberry, “Warsaw is in the middle of the Northern Neck. We want to make it the hub of this area.”
The proximity of Warsaw to Washington, DC to the north, Fredericksburg to the west, and Richmond to the South, makes the town, according to Quesenberry, a perfect location. It was stated population in Warsaw is maintaining, but a lot of younger families are starting to move into the area. It was reported that 18,000 cars a day pass through the town, making downtown revitalization a priority. The town is only three square miles in size, but it was reported that over $5.5 million dollars in grant money and investments from the private sector have been raised for this project.
Included is the developing the transportation around the area with the help of an enhancement grant. This will include involvement of the Federal government and VDOT. Sidewalks will be put in place as far as Rappahannock Community College to make the town more accessible to the students there as well as residents who do not live in the middle of town.
The sidewalks will lead to a revitalized downtown that will include trees, flowers and new facades on some of the buildings. At crosswalks, the plan calls for brick pavers. Quesenberry commented that the idea behind all of this is to increase the visibility of the businesses on Main Street.
The third project is to improve storm water drainage from Main Street. A $2 million initiative, the top priority of this project is to make sure there is a way the water will not stand on the street, but will be properly disposed of.
The private sector is not being slack in the revitalization projects as many are already planning on rehabilitating older buildings to spruce up the downtown area. Traveling on Main Street, there are few empty buildings, according to Quesenberry. When a business is no longer using a property, it is not long before another business is moving in, many times by a nonprofit organization. Much of the history of Warsaw is being preserved by residents who are organizing to save old buildings. A good example of this is the Saddlery, located on Route 360. Private citizens have taken this project in hand and will be moving it to a piece of property donated to the cause.
With a vision of fiscal responsibility, Quesenberry stated they must budget their monies wisely, with such ideas in mind as establishing a capital improvement plan. In the past three years, revenue in the town has increased steadily despite the fact that there have been no tax increases in the past ten years and it has been two years since there were real estate assessments, according to Quesenberry.
When considering all that was before him, it was a dedicated eight member town council that makes it happen, according to Quesenberry. Devoid of political ambitions, he stated the council is dedicated to making Warsaw a place to be proud of. The members have a diverse age spectrum, but work together, along with Mayor Randy Phelps, very cooperatively.
The Warsaw Police Department is an active member of the town community. Working closely with the Richmond County Sheriff’s office, their patrols, along with the assistance of the residents in the area, have brought the crime rate to near zero in the town limits. The department also sponsors an Explorer post that is very active. In addition to community activities, the members are provided various internships with businesses.
Finishing his first 100 days at his job has given Joseph Quesenberry a vision as well as a love for the town of Warsaw. Here’s to the future hub of the Northern Neck.
Scott Richards is a Northern Neck News correspondent.