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STRONGSVILLE VOTERS GIVE WAL-MART A BIG YES

 CLEVELAND, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite months of "David vs. Goliath" publicity locally and nationally about concerned citizens battling to keep giant retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kmart out of their communities, one upscale suburban community went to the ballot box yesterday and rolled out the welcome mat.
 By nearly two to one, voters in Strongsville, Ohio, said "yes" to a rezoning for a $20 million development that includes a 125,000-square- foot Wal-Mart and a 110,000-square-foot Builders Square. The issue drew more support than any of the three popular incumbent council members who were re-elected and more support than a small no-increase-in-taxes renewal levy.
 Part of the 48-acre site had been zoned for single-family homes; and in a community where $200,000-plus homes are becoming the norm, the wide margin of victory for the rezoning issue may have surprised a lot of people.
 But it didn't surprise Andrew M. Juniewicz, vice chairman of William Silverman & Company, who directed the election campaign for the project developer, the Zaremba Group, of suburban Lakewood.
 "Obviously, people aren't as negative towards Wal-Marts, Kmarts and other major retailers as all of the publicity may have suggested," said Juniewicz, whose firm has handled dozens of rezoning campaigns. "If it's a well-planned project, if issues such as traffic and access have been satisfactorily addressed, if the project provides significant tax and economic benefits to the city, and if all of this is packaged and communicated effectively, developers may find that the voters aren't as anti-development as they've been portrayed."
 The challenge, Juniewicz said, is two-fold: first, making sure that developers really do address the concerns of the community, especially the neighbors, in planning and designing the project; then, using whatever means seem most appropriate, provide information that, hopefully, is persuasive.
 Brochures, flyers, leaflets, letters, ads, signs and other such materials are important, he noted, "but so are meetings with homeowners associations, community groups, social and fraternal organizations, public officials, and even with local residents, one-on-one, where there's any opportunity to really discuss the issues, not just present a canned pitch."
 Juniewicz said Zaremba Group representatives met extensively with organizations throughout the city to present information and answer questions.
 Any successful campaign, he explained requires a team effort. "It's the developer's project and his dollars that are on the line, but it's our job to develop the look, the feel and the substance of the information and the messages that we believe will elicit a favorable vote."
 Juniewicz added, "On issues like this, you can't fool people and you can't lie to them. You have to inform them, persuade them, and sometimes dissuade them. But, you have to do it honestly and clearly so voters can intelligently decide whether the issue is in the best interest of the community."
 William Silverman & Company, headquartered in Cleveland, is one of the largest public relations firms in Ohio. Its principal areas of practice are public affairs, corporate communications and crisis counseling. It was recognized recently by "inside pr" magazine as one of six firms in the country whose growth and success make it "a firm to watch."
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew M. Juniewicz, vice chairman, of William Silverman & Company, 216-696-7750/


CO: William Silverman & Company ST: Ohio IN: PUB SU:

AR -- CL022 -- 0237 11/03/93 15:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993
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