sprawlitis and shopocalypse

Submitted by Susan Miller on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 08:56.

"At this point, with this economy, it doesn't make sense," she said of more shopping centers.

This from an article that tells us that Richard E. Jacobs Group wants to turn the old Geauga Lake property into a mega strip center with MORE SHOPPING! That's our Dick - pimpin' the big boxes. Jeez - give me a break! Read the news would you please?!? The last thing we need anywhere is more retail. Read this Dick!  SHOPOPCALYPSE

I tell you, we have to switch the developers' heads around - off the build-shopping-centers mode. Wouldn't it be great to hear that Coral Company planned to build a wetland restoration in Solon instead of a mega mall? That Jacobs Group or Wolstein or Stark planned to build a wind farm? But where's the profit in that? Well if they were suddenly charged for  all the externalities of the damage their profits have wrought on our land, they would be in line to buy and conserve land to make up for the acres they have paved and the numerous cavernous buildings/ugly crap they have distributed in cities and townships nationwide - the crap that litters our highways, suburbs and central cities.

Has anyone read the news - we're done shopping. We've manufactured scads of fake money and the entire global marketplace is on a reducing diet. We will not be shopping today for anything except the basics and only the rich guys who have goldenly parachuted from this debacle will be having "fat" holidays. I guffawed last night when I saw an ad for buying a car (a gas guzzler) for your sweetie this Christmas - you know the one with the big bow on an SUV. I opened my gratis copy of Northern Ohio Live magazine last night and could not tell the ads from the copy except for this piece (gratiously awarded one page) by Scott Lax: Baby, the thrill is gone (it's not online). In the piece, he talks about his idea of building a log cabin off-grid with a garden on a spit of land - an idea he had before he got on the thrill ride/Carnival Cruise of the 80s and 90s - the eat out, spend til you drop, buy til you die mentality of recent deccades. 

I was pleased to see that Stark has had the good sense to pull out of the downtown effort to bring  mega retaliers into our downtown. Thank God. Let's hope the Asher family/Weston Group does not have similar plans. The last thing we need is another Gap, Radio Shack, etc. With the end of fossil fuel we will see more and more big boxes sitting empty, decaying on the landscape. Stop planning them, stop building them now. Each new store that is dreamed of is just so much piss in the wind.  What will these developers do in the future? Could they build solar fields, wind farms? I don't know, but I do know that we don't need any more shopping.

After 9-11, GW Bush encouraged Americans to go out and shop. This last election secured the notion that the majority of Americans saw the stupidity in that plan. We couldn't buy anymore stuff if we wanted to. So kudos to the folks in Geauga County who are thinking twice about letting Jacobs build a shopping center in their environs. This may have been the solution for the past few decades (not really as evidenced by the current economic crisis), but it doesn't fly today or tomorrow. Developers will need a makeover and communities that have sprawled out to nowhereland foolishly planting parking lagoons and big box stores on what was once valuable land will need to rethink their ways. These sprawl communities will soon become obsolete - McMansions will crumble as they have been poorly constructed and will now be abandoned - left to quickly rot. Outlying communities will be faced with cleaning up the toxicity of decaying homes built with treated lumber and other quick and dirty construction materials.

Rationing - rational - ratiocination - we're gonna have to reason these things out now. We've got a lot of catching up to do because for quite sometime reason and deliberation and calculation has been only in one direction - filling some rich guys pockets while the rest of us foot the bill and glaze over when a new retailer is planned for our community.

The good news is that nature is resilient and will happily take back the land. We can see it in our Cleveland neighborhoods.  But we might just need to "let it be" for the forseeable future.

Word to Geauga officials - appreciate the lack of long lines of traffic to your community. Appreciate that you won't have the headache of air quality compliance issues and that you may one day have clean water to access - flora and fauna that will make your community desirable for visitors. 

"I don't want more retail and big boxes, because they close and move to other locations," Mr. Markley said. "I don't want a situation with a number of empty shells over the long haul."
Mr. Joyce said he is concerned that, if the plan is built as shown, it would encourage others to seek the same intense lot coverage. There are wetlands and other natural areas around it that should remain that way, he said.
He said that there are many shopping centers, including in nearby Solon, and, at some point, the area will become saturated. The communities are then left with empty stores, he said.
"We'll try to work toward something that makes sense," Mr. Joyce said. A mixed use would require a change in the zoning, he said. "We're trying to meet and plan for the future."

Geauga Leaders: the future is now.

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