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Holding Greenfield back

Frustrated with the ongoing big box fight

Greenfield cannot be defined by a store, but we shouldn’t be embarrassed by a lack of one, either.

People are constantly putting Greenfield down because we haven’t been able to get a discount department store for almost 25 years. I’m not upset with Greenfield as a whole because our mayors and city boards followed the process. The minority group who attempts to speak for the majority outrages and embarrasses me.

I have a few questions to ask. When the split tax rate was on the council floor, where were all the supporters of the downtown businesses? During the holiday season, the foot traffic picked up some but no stores were so swamped with customers that they had to hire extra help. Where were you? We now have many second-hand/used stores as well as local craft businesses filling up our downtown. If this is truly what you want Greenfield to look like, why are you so opposed to a big box store on the outskirts of the city that won’t carry the same products?

There should be something for everybody in a wonderful, diverse small city. Well, there is a large group that is being left out of the equation. Do you understand that or is it that you don’t care? How about the Candlelight Motel on the Mohawk Trail? All I’ve heard is that it’s very important what the gateways to Greenfield look like. What does a dilapidated building in that area say about us and why aren’t you complaining?

As I walk on eggshells trying not to offend anyone, I realize that some people simply look out for themselves regardless of community need, court costs or a fair and balanced process. If it was just about this project, I would accept it, grudgingly, but accept it nonetheless. But, I’ve heard all these same arguments for BJ’s, Home Depot, Vehicle Inspection Center, Walgreens and CVS opening 24 hours. Not a word of dissatisfaction about a too-large and not-the-best-looking transportation center. Never mind the fact that it turns out not to be very welcoming for local community meetings. When Orange not only gets a discount department store first, but is already slated to build a larger store, color me shocked. And before you tell me to travel to Orange if I need to shop, there is no reason we should have to leave Greenfield. It’s not Monroe, it’s Greenfield.

When I last looked, we were the county seat.

The state is willing to pour millions of dollars into a transportation center, a middle and high school, new jail, newly renovated college and a large new courthouse. Opponents talk about Greenfield as if it was really like Monroe and the traffic would keep everyone awake. We live among people who drive out of town for employment, but they can’t fathom that anyone would travel to shop?

I’m furious. Do I still think Greenfield will win its court case? Yes, I do. But all the years that have gone by and the amount of money spent is ridiculous.

The judge needs to hear from the abutters, OK, I will accept that. And, if the judge sides with the City of Greenfield and makes no changes, will the abutters accept that or do they just switch to another court? I see the developer beginning to fight back. I’m happy, they have invested so much time and money already. I know the point is to push the developer to walk away. When I read what the abutters want or how they feel, will we ever hear directly from them? If not, there shouldn’t be a story there.

Why is it important that Mr. Norman be heard? We all know where he stands on the issue and any big box that wants to come to Greenfield, for that matter.

I appreciate and respect the community I live in. I’m able to pick and choose what I would like to participate in. I cannot turn my back on all of Greenfield because of a handful of people.

Don’t you wish people could learn to pick and choose where they want to shop and allow all businesses to open?

Penny Ricketts lives in Greenfield.

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