courant.com

http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/commentary/hc-plckuykendal1218.artdec18,0,7528934.story


An Overdose Of Stores



By JIM KUYKENDALL

December 18 2005

I'm aquiver with excitement.

Less than a five-minute drive to the north of my house, they're building a new Walgreens.

This is great, because now I won't have to suffer through that pesky five-minute drive to the south to go to that other Walgreens. It was so out of my way.

Of course, Walgreens isn't my only choice. Within that same five-minute drive from my house I also have at my disposal two CVS pharmacies. And if those drug stores don't suit me, there also are two Stop & Shops, a Big Y, a Price Chopper, a Target and two Wal-Marts that have pharmacies. If I want to drive for 10 minutes, the number of these places I can reach nears infinity.

So many drugs, so little time.

The building of the Walgreens also is a relief because, previously, that lot had been filled with a bunch of pesky trees. I mean, really, there are trees everywhere. If I want to see a tree, I can go out into my front yard.

I assume that the town is desperate for the tax revenue, thanks to the budget hits it took during the Rowland administration. But at what point do we stop denuding the land for another box store offering the same thing as the next box store?

My family moved to Connecticut 15 years ago from South Florida. One of the main reasons for the move, besides the rampant crime there, was Florida's overdevelopment. Every square inch of land has been converted into the most recently essential mini-mall/condominium complex/housing development. Encroachment on the environmentally sensitive Everglades advances each year. Soon, the one-time wetlands will be the "Everglades Acres" housing complex. The streets will all be named after former inhabitants, such as "Alligator Alley" and "Panther Pavilion." The last living egret will be housed in a glass cage in the center of the development, so the homeowners can gawk at the wonders of nature.

And now I fear that Connecticut is traveling down that same path. At what point do residents stand up and say, "Enough is enough?"

Or maybe I just need some stronger medication. If so, I certainly have options.

Jim Kuykendall is a graphic artist at The Courant. He lives in Wethersfield.

Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant