First, thanks to everyone who cares enough about Andersonville to have signed the petition to oppose the sale of Thybony to Walgreens. There were some very insightful comments posted and email replies by many signatories on this issue. I’d like to take an opportunity to address some of them. If you still haven’t signed it yet and wish to, please go to http://bit.ly/bGYtG4.
Though there seems to be some confusion over the details, it appears that the sale to Walgreens is close to being finalized or has already been finalized. That said, our only recourse may be to work to get the very best Walgreens we can get, one which perhaps provides greenspace and preserves the character of the neighborhood as much as possible. Walgreens does have corporate responsibility initiatives that may be employed to this end. Thanks to Andrew Strand for pointing this out.
In any case, this is no time to give up. On the contrary, this setback to the integrity of our neighborhood is a hard lesson learned and one which compels us to see the big picture. A major commercial property (Thybony) selling to a big box retailer (Walgreens) with no public debate and no input from key business or community groups is symptomatic of a much larger problem with representative governance in our area. I don’t care to engage in any unproductive fingerpointing at who is to blame for this. In some sense we are all responsible for allowing Andersonville to become vulnerable by those who are willing to “sell her soul to the devil” and fall victim to the wrong kind of development.
What we can do for the future protection and preservation of Andersonville, as well as the value of our property, is to develop a strategy that more proactively and effectively engages us in major decisions on development projects. The Edgewater Medical Center property and the debate over how to repurpose this land for the benefit of all is looming large on the horizon. Let’s seize the opportunity to play a major role in this process—for the good of our community rather than for the profit of a single individual.
As taxpaying citizens we are major stakeholders in this process, but we’re not utilizing our influence. Whether you want to see a park at EMC or the restoration of the art deco portion of the building or some other scenario, here are some ways you can get involved:
- Join the Friends of West Edgewater Park by subscribing to the website at https://wepark.wordpress.com/
- Come to Town Hall meetings and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Join your neighborhood resident or business groups and ask them to adopt a more proactive relationship with key city officials involved in development projects.
- Write and call your Alderman about your concerns and ask that special meetings be established to discuss the EMC debate.