Yee-haw! Last night I attended a good old fashion town hall meeting. The item on the agenda…a STRIP MALL just 8 or so houses from the Parisienne Farmhouse.
At this moment it is difficult for me to think of anything possibly being more VULGAR!
Apparently the neighbors agree. We turned out in droves and packed the room. It was us against 3 men in navy suits with big portfolios and an easel. They were there to request a zoning change for their nasty strip mall.
For 10 long minutes we quietly listened to their presentation…”Quality bricks, we won’t use any drivet, parking for 75 vehicles, a brick structure around the dumpster (10 feet from our friends pool!) bla, bla, bla.”
Our eyes began to roll with every “accoutrement” mentioned.
Then it was revealed who was interested in renting this space…a fitness club, two chiropractors and a pizza delivery place. Our eyes lodged permanetly in the back of our heads.
Allow me to interject that there is a chiropractor and pizza delivery place on EVERY CORNER of this town. And a fitness club? Um, people up here are pretty home grown and corn fed if you know what I mean. Anyone coming to this club would be driving in from a former corn field neighborhood (“Big Homes, Less Money” the sign boasts) five miles out, not local pedestrian traffic as the village would like us to believe. (And of course, we are a pretty healthy neighborhood but on PRINCIPLE we could never become members there!)
Then, it was time for the Alderman to speak and we all held our breath. We had all (hopefully) called each one to voice our concern, we had signed a petition, we had written the newspaper…
One after the other they voiced concern for the traffic this would create in an already conjested historic neighborhood, they voiced concern for the noise of the air conditioners, for the style of the building for the safety of the children in the neighborhood and from the school across the street…
“No, no, no, no, no, no.”
Then one of the blue suits got up and pulled out what he thought was the big guns. He peeled off his “nice face” mask and proved once again to me that developers are in a word; evil. And by evil I mean seething with greed.
He talked to us and the board like we were small town morons, that this strip mall going in “was nothing” after all, IDOT was going to turn our highway into 5 lanes by 2009, that we didn’t know what we were talking about, traffic here wasn’t really a problem and his projected “65” cars in and out per hour would be nothing once the state had their way with the highway. This was one of the nicest strip mall designs available, their air-conditioners are $11,000 a piece and quieter than a residential air conditioner (never mind that there would be ELEVEN of them!), and then he tightend the noose around his own neck,
“After all, we ALL have children. The east bound street is not residential and children aren’t going to be walking around this strip mall.”
Oops, that did it. One of the alderman (a woman) lost it. She grabbed her pen and pointed it at the developer and snarled that she had tried to be nice but we did know what we were talking about, children WOULD be crossing that driveway as they walked to and from school…on and on she went…didnt they GET it? This is a historic neighborhood and this building DOES NOT FIT!
Finally the audience spoke with a loud round of applause. Can I get an AMEN?!
Then it was my sweet neighbor, MaryKay’s chance to speak. So kind and sweet, not at all how I would have approached the situation but she stood up behind the podium and read her letter that did not make it to the Herald in time.
Another “AMEN” the audience went mad.
Again more threats from the developer…WHAT-EVER! They had been smacked down by the people uniting. For now we have saved this neighborhood from the greedy, monster that is, new construction.
America does not need ONE MORE strip mall. We are killing our culture by diluting it, we are destroying our corn fields with big ugly, poorly built housing, developers have no regard for nature, family farms and the future good of society. We are being dumbed down by television and Wal-Mart. Take away beauty, creativity and nature and you’ll have people being herded around like cattle. We will sit in hours of stop light traffic to get from one mega store to another and then we will return to our sterile home that look like the one right next door (we can’t afford to furnish it but we have 3,000 square feet damn it!), we will walk in the door, eat our genetically modified food and then as quickly as possible turn on the television (our SOMA of choice) for an evening of sex and advertising…
“Start having a great life.” says the car commercial.
Humf. I’ve got one thank you very much and for now…with one LESS strip mall.