Ch-scene Digest, Vol 16, Issue 25
grady at ibiblio.org
Mon Feb 28 09:05:04 EST 2005
Well, you know, those of us who live by the car are destined to die by
the car, and I say this as someone who just spent 40 minutes in the car
commuting to RTP.
Isn't Parkwood a fairly typical 70s-era white-flight suburb of
Durham/RTP, pine trees or no pine trees? That refreshing lack of gas
stations & Teeters just meant that the residents had to drive further to
meet their basic daily needs -- unless y'all were growing all your own
food when you were kids (I can just picture Peder walking behind a plow)
. . .
I dig what you're saying about eccentric local funk -- but really, how
long do you have to live elsewhere to develop nostalgia for the oil-tank
farm and the junkyard that bookend the current Cradle?
Basically, as long as people keep procreating and/or immigrating, we're
going to have to deal with development. We only get two choices: out, or
up. Up is vastly preferable to out, especially since the surface of the
earth is a finite quantity while, strictly speaking, "up" is infinite.
The engineering just gets trickier the further up you go ;-)
dAvid Hollinghurst wrote:
> First, I offer my apologies to anyone who I offended with my own
> "knee-jerk" reaction toward the new plans for Downtown Carrboro.
> Since I have come into the discussion a bit late in the game (and the
> distance doesn't help), it could seem immature, rash, and a bit
> uncalled for. My intention was to spout off a little, then give
> credit to all who have given positive, rational, and reasonable
> suggestions and discussions for this new development, support to
> those that have given constructive criticism. To some, the first
> paragraph just poisoned and erased the rest. Perhaps I should have
> made myself clearer.
> Allow me to explain my vitriol. My family moved to a housing
> community in southern Durham county called Parkwood in 1984. It's a
> pretty insular situation, being there are greenways and forests of
> pine that generally disallow any kind of development in yr own
> backyard. No chance for a gas station, or a Harris Teeter, or a
> Wal-Mart looming over you at night. But outside, we watched the pine
> forests fall. Strip mall here, townhouses there. Fayetteville Road
> and Hwy 54 were doomed once we saw the potential. Pretty soon, the
> houses that held a family for thirty years or more were bathed in
> traffic, noise, and some serious light pollution. They basically had
> no choice, except to eventually move. Yr typical sprawl situation.
> And then one day, I was driving down what was once a back road made
> of gravel, through the construction of more cardboard housing
> developments. Around the corner and BAM!, an entire area of dense
> pines completely razed. Bulldozers galore. The signs of a new
> development: Southpoint, the mall that would best Crabtree was
> threatening it's presence. They will come, cried the machines, and
> in droves.
> My first thought: what about the people that live on this road, just
> on the end of this new commercial excess? Has anyone driven past
> Southpoint, to where the four/six lanes turn into two? It's like an
> insult to these poor, unfortunate souls who have been living there
> for so long, their children, and grandchildren that have visited
> them, memories that were planted with the grass in the front yard,
> the swingset in back. Now, they live on the very outskirts of the
> disease that is about to engulf their homesteads: Development. What
> chance do they have? Sure they had a voice, but the town and the
> businesses seemed to care little. There is no buffer there. In a
> few years, you may see some "For Sale" signs in those yards. May see
> them, I say, because they probably have already been offered a lump
> sum for their homes, their land, their memories. And eventually,
> they'll fold, just like everyone else has, and probably for a steal,
> because the brokers are all going for the same deal, the same profit.
> No one can blame them; who the hell would want to live in these
> My vitriol is based on the background of this sprawl, this disease
> that spreads like wildfire across our country. Yes, I'll agree with
> you before you begin to argue. This plan is not really pushing
> people out of their homes. And Main Street Properties has done a
> good job in allowing the community to become involved in the process
> for this project. The fact that they are designing spaces
> specifically for their clients that have become a mainstay in the
> cultural and economical process of Carrboro exhibits their
> consideration and understanding of what this move, this change, this
> development will mean to the community.
> But for me, from what I have witnessed, it's the disease. And with
> that, the change of the livelihood. It can happen for the better,
> but every time I hear the word development, I cringe. There are
> obviously far more issues than just the loss of memories and
> sacredness of peoples homes, and the rights to live as they please.
> Ross pointed out several strong issues in his posting. These are
> questions we want answers for.
> Character for a town to me doesn't necessarily mean the architecture
> or the amount of people to me. It's the odd houses, the random
> shops, the old tree on a corner or the funky sculpture some hippy put
> in their front yard. The people, the attitude, and variety that
> allows everyone to contribute to the greater creativity. A
> development like this, as good natured as it is, tends to flatten and
> sterilize the character. And where there is one, there is more.
> These points I am sure are nothing new; we've seen it everywhere.
> Everyone here seems to understand the big picture and what our
> culture has the potential to do to itself and to others.
> I do realize the juxtaposition of what a somewhat
> poseur-satellite-localite has in a newsgroup such as this. But the
> thing is, I do care. Living in NYC has given me more appreciation
> for what towns like Chapel Hill and Carrboro have to offer. Not just
> the quiet and moderately cheaper rent, but the sense of community
> that naturally exists. NYC is just so darn big, you don't really get
> that here, which is why I signed onto this newsgroup, which is why I
> am also part of the "gonna move back to CH/Carrboro when the time
> comes" consortium. It's a great place to live; I look fondly upon
> the days spent there, watching families grow and the community work
> with itself. Sure, I was some poor, rock kid living off McDade for
> awhile, but I knew what was going on outside the rental I sat in.
> Anyone who didn't understand really didn't belong there.
> Maybe us out-of-towners react so vehemently toward these changes
> because we miss the old place. All we have is our memories to hold
> on to, and when the foundations that created them are uprooted,
> shifted, changed, plowed over, or replaced with something else, we
> get a little upset. Where is the continuity, is nothing sacred? Or
> perhaps the city has creeped in and settled in our nerves. The MTA
> can do that to you. I'd be willing to have some anthropological
> discussions about this.
> But again, I do want to apologize to those who are taking the
> positive, wiser, more thoughtful road if any offense has been made.
> It's highly commendable, I look up to those doing so, and learn a
> great deal from what everyone says, about this topic as well as
> others (part of the community process, I feel). I would assume (but
> that would hurt us all, right?) that there was a little knee-jerk
> reaction in all of us upon first hearing the news; mine was just a
> bit venomous and landed in a place where it felt comfortable to say
> what is on yr mind. I look forward to following everyone's opinions
> here, reading whatever local newsprint I can get my hands on off the
> net, and gathering the updates when they come. Thank you for posting
> the links for the plans. That's the kind of thing that makes me glad
> communities that involve smart and dedicated people like this still
> exist. Thanks for listening, if you made it this far.
> As far as the Kenlan/Garrison/embittered tag, well, perhaps this is a
> personal issue. One that can be discussed outside this forum if
> desired, since I'm sure others here don't want to hear about it.
> "Forever alive, forever forward." -Walt Whitman
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