I don't particularly want a Dollar General store at the corner of Spanish Trail and Summit Boulevard in East Pensacola. Part of that is an aversion to change. I used to roam in the trees that used to be on that lot shared with the Methodist Church there when I was in Boy Scouts. I also like the idea of not developing every free tract of land just because we can. Progress happens, I suppose.
But you can't help but laugh at the misguided outrage.
"The Cordova Park area is residential and should stay that way" begins the most popular entry at the Change.org petition imploring members of the Pensacola City Council to not allow a zoning change that would let Dollar General (or other business, should that fall through) build there. Fair enough. But never mind all the office space just across the street. Folks in suits and doctors' coats are OK in a residential area, though, right?
Let's go to the next entry.
"Leave the neighborhood a residential neighborhood, not an ugly commercial pitstop that will attract unwanted traffic." I'm all for that, too. But then again, I also frequent the Tom Thumb convenience store and its half-dozen gasoline pumps — from which you see the Summit-Spanish corner in question — on a pretty regular basis. Guess we all have to stop going there then.
Those are just two of the more misguided entries on the petition. My favorite, perhaps, is the one that mentions "We don't need or want the added traffic and patronage this would bring." Exactly what kind of patronage would that be? Is shopping for low-cost stuff — nobody's pretending Dollar General is high end — any worse than ransacking Victoria's Secret at Cordova Mall every few months for $2.99 panties? Or do we just not like the idea of a few more people in general? And just who are these patrons we're so afraid of? Folks who have to shop at Family Dollar? (Or even worse, maybe, is folks who would want to?) The horror. Not the patrons — the implication.
But the ultimate in irony has to be driving past the Summit Boulevard recycling station just a few hundred yards away from the site of all this outrage. The six recycling containers there often overflow after holidays. No great surprise there. We generate a lot of trash, and I'm grateful to have so many recycling stations in Pensacola. But the excessive dumping has grown beyond ridiculous.
Stopping by the McAllister Avenue recycling site on the other side of the airport on Christmas morning was perhaps even more depressing. Folks didn't even bother looking to see if the containers were full. Just dump and run. And so close to a residential neighborhood, too. Where families live.
I don't really want a Dollar General store on that corner. I don't particularly want anything on that corner, I suppose. And I also would urge the City Council to carefully consider any rezoning. You should join the "No to Dollar General at the Corner of Summit and Spanish Trail!!!" Facebook group as another outlet.
But if we're going to get so upset over this whole thing, let's be honest about it. Dollar stores have a certain stigma attached to them, right or wrong.
As do folks who live nearby who dump their Christmas aftermath without a second thought.
(Title with apologies to Walt Kelly.)