The Great South Carrollton/South Claiborne Walgreen's Debate: Now to the Orchestrated PR Campaign Level
I recieved this email from a Carrollton resident a few minutes ago:
I was driving past the intersection this morning around 10AM and observed two news cameras and several suits in front of the camera with a large diagram on an easel. Being the busy body I am, I parked, got out and stood around to hear whatever I could hear.
I am not sure what they were up to, but those in front of the camera were all wearing stickers saying "Tell Councilwoman Midura Carrollton Neighbors Want a Grocery Store." The story line was how dangerous the corner is, even to the extent of saying several murders happened there and all they were asking for was a setback variance for parking. At the conclusion of the event, they handed out a copy of the footprint they were trying to get approved. When I asked for one, the guy asked, "Who are you?" He reluctantly gave me one . . . .
Ah yes--the old FEAR tactic. "Several murders." Really? How about this novel idea? The property was purposely allowed to deteriorate to it's current pathetic condition over the PAST SEVEN YEARS in the hopes some crime incident would occur, thus allowing whomever to cite the crime element as the reason to relax the rules. No need to be concerned with the South Carrollton-specific overlay zone created by the city planning department with sound urban planning methodology to make sure uses on the properties along this street are appropriately designed and site planned. This orchestrated PR campagin is trying to use fear and the fact that most people don't understand what this whole overlay thing is all about--its more than just moving the building back feet from the street.
Guys, I hate to tell you this, but there is a good chance the proposed grocery store is intended only as a carrot to dangle in front of the residents and politicians to legitimize the laxing of laws so residents will say, "Well--if allowing the Walgreen's to be built even if we don't need another one and even though they have a bad history of abandoning stores in our city is what it takes to finally get the grocery in Carrollton that we longer have because of Walgreens in the first place, than so be it." That's the point. The inclusion of an adjacent grocery store (not even legally part of this project) is a diversion. I have no proof that the Robert Fresh Market will not ever come into frution if this variance is granted, but I can say from looking at the proposed site plan that if I am Mr. Robert, I'm not happy with the sight lines or the location of the store in the current plan--its doesn't give him or his store the absolute best chance for success. This site plan is all about Walgreen's and not any grocery store. The ridiculous thing is that this could all be solved with the proper design for both combined in a side-by-side layout, but Walgreen's must have their drive-thru and only does stand alone stores now.
Of course, the big free-for-all is tonight. Care to see preservationists contend with an orchestrated, corporate-funded PR campaign--make it over to the City Hall Council Chambers tonight at 7pm. Fun, fun.
Oh ya--and a special hello to the online Walgreen's PR crew up in Wheeling, Illinois. I hope you've learned a few things reading TBNO about what's happening down in "our part of the world."
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Walgreens, Shelley Midura, Carrollton, Urban Planning