Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The "Is The Sun Setting Yet?" Story

Field that for as long as I can remember was filled with corn
every summer.  Now it will be filled year-round with stores.
It was an ordinary day.  Stopped to take a photo of what at one time, for as long as I can remember, was a field of corn.  Now, I am looking at bulldozers and front-end loaders as they begin the task of turning yet one more piece of my beloved Lancaster County into a shopping center.  As if we don't have enough.  Sitting in the many acres directly across from this property is another shopping center with half a dozen big-box stores with a Home Depot as the anchor store.  A few of the stores sit vacant, but that doesn't stop the destruction of the corn field across the street from it.  Seems that development and density is a sore subject in every town and not just Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I live about a half-mile from this new center and I know I'm going to have to fight more and more traffic on a daily basis when it opens.  
In front of the field, along what is called Fruitville Pike,
was a row of perhaps a dozen homes.  Here you can see
the demolition of those homes.
And just why is it opening?  So there can be another Target store, which we already have two of not far away, another grocery store, which we have four of within spitting distance, and a variety of other stores with names that will continue to change on their marquee as the years go buy.  Happens in every town, but yet no one seems to bother.  When will we begin to build a desirable community that has been planned and finalized before a single street is laid?  Lancaster County is beautiful, vibrant, multi-cutural, but seems to be changing just because there is open space.  How much farmland has been lost over the years to make way for buildings that will sit vacant for eternity?  Lancaster County developed a planning commission in 1958 to take care of this situation.  Evidently they must have either disbanded or the members are all builders and developers.  At one time I thought that a community should reflect the aspirations of those living in that community.  But, I suppose aspirations alone aren't enough to protect farmland.  
A month from the above photo makes a big difference.
So then I read in an article in the Lancaster Newspapers telling of the new Places2040 plan and how we need to increase the density of  population in the land that is now available if we expect to grow.  How about those of us that don't want to grow and gain density in the areas where we now live.  The changes that will come with the higher density will be reflected in the need for more schools, more services and more traffic which will result in higher taxes and fees.  Why can't Lancaster just be the same Lancaster that I knew as a child and young adult.  I know, progress is the reason.  But, will the sun still set when Lancaster is no longer the community that at one time was "The Garden Spot of America?"  Maybe generations from now they will wake up and stop the roller coaster at the station.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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