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Community Development ...the CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens Way

August 25, 2011

I'm just about fed up with what's happening to our town.

(Ha. Understatement.)

We've had a fair bit of new construction lately. --It has all been teardowns followed by new RiteAids, Walgreens and CVS's. Sometimes within a half mile of each other. A quarter mile. We now probably have a dozen pharmacies within a mile. Other franchises have recently popped up only to soon show a "For Lease" sign.

Somehow bigbox pharma is the best way to make a quick buck these days, it seems. I'm thinking that REITs are at play. Heard of them? It's an instrument to buy'n'sell real estate without paying taxes. You buy a share in a building. ("Everybody has a share." -- Catch 22) What kind of building would an out of towner buy into based only on an online photo? Why, a reliable franchise. So that's what is built and called America today.

At the same time we have large malls and minimalls that are empty -- that have never been more than half full in 20 years. We've overheard two of the previous tenants say they left because the owner raised the rent -- leaving their spaces empty for years behind them. Somehow being empty makes the owners more money than being occupied. Tax avoidance leading the way again?

It's shocking how our local leaders and lenders are building this town. Town? They think a *town* is what they're making? I doubt it. But who knows what they're thinking. I suppose they're watching TV like everyone else. The reality though is that our community has been TRASHED, wiped-clean, and replaced by generic pharma-boxes! There's no community, no "there there."

Years ago our local PBS TV station produced a show as a fundraiser called "Things Not Here Anymore." It was spun as a "look back" show, some nostalgia, but *whew!* what a title! Basically, it was a show about what used to be here: a capitol city, a university town, a small town -- each full of suitable features for people. All these are gone. ALL. Replaced by, at best, empty green grass. Otherwise by bigbox franchises. OK, there are a few "nicer" places -- guided by marketing strategies, staffed by youth. There's maybe ONE true hold-out: the Golden Harvest hangout restaurant in Old Town. Elsewhere there are signs of new people trying to rebirth some part of town -- according to best-practices tinged by a generic franchise mentality. The result isn't like a real town, but it's all we have. Anyway, it's not just a "bygone years" show. It might as well be a genocide show about how humans were replaced by robots. It's a real tear-jerker. Compare your leaders/lenders of today with those of yesteryear. Here are links to the two parts of the show:



They used to put up portraits of leaders in lobbies of area institutions. Do they do that anymore? Where? There are no more area institutions. No leaders. Maybe that's the difference. There's nobody behind the backroom doors. Were the leaders of yesterday hidden behind back doors? I imagine that they were behind glass doors, maybe -- so you could watch the owner at work. Or the leader had an office overlooking an ideal view.

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