Preaching to the Choir

I was riding down the road and noticed a billboard advertising a shoe store. This shoe store used to be on the High Point Rd Corridor but now has moved across town to the Battleground Ave. corridor. Funny thing is, both shopping centers are unsustainable (in environmentalist terms) strip malls, that are at least 25 years old. Both have been renovated and constantly occupied in recent years. Yet, the Battleground center doesn’t have rumors of rape and drug use lingering around it. The parking lots are both kinda dark at night, but so far, I have heard of nothing criminal at the Battleground center.

Usually, I’m ready to boycott the store who thought it so easy and so vital that they leave this struggling neighborhood. However, I had to think, if I’d been raped in the parking lot(or inside one of the other stores in the mall as one account alleges), would I want to return to that area? Especially being that the target audience of most shoe stores, especially a warehouse like this one, is women, I am all for safety.

Yet, the real root of the problem is what the title of this post comes from. I can wail all day long about stores leaving the community and also the community that doesn’t support its stores. However, the folks who really need this post, will probably never read it.

The business owner would, and probably agree with me on why they made the decision to move. Yet, I’m still concerned about the community around the stores that fails to first, speak out against these kinds of moves and second speak against the behaviors that cause them. I know we are in bad economic times, but criminal behavior is not the way to go.

There’s talk of legalizing illicit drugs, to lessen the allure and dangers of selling  them in the communities where they are almost the chief economic engine. However, we also have legal gambling enterprises on the High Point Rd. corridor. I have not seen where legalizing these places has really helped the community, it just appears that our neighborhood supports these type of enterprises in high numbers. (And doesn’t need to eat. As mentioned before, we only have one grocery within the stretch that encompasses the Greensboro city limits, down from three about 15 years ago).

I’ve said on this blog before, that my vision of smarter growth, especially within the retail area is that of a sustainable community. People of all backgrounds contribute to the betterment and maintenance of their community. Streets, sidewalks, parking lots and green spaces are clean, making the places, no matter their age or lack of designer wares look inviting and chic. We charge each other fair prices and we treat each other with respect in the shopping areas.

One day, we will figure out how to reach our communities for lasting change. Until then, choir, can I get an amen? What can we do to reach these communities the way they need to be reached? Not just in terms of the built environment, but other issues such as domestic violence, drug use, education and the like.