An unhealthy community

“Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order please?”

“I’ll have a double cheeseburger with bacon and a fried egg; a super-sized fry and I’ll need a super-sized Coke. I’d order more but I have to eat and drive.”

“That will be $7.58, please pull to the second window.”

As I lugged the grocery-bag sized sack into my car I could feel the weight and smell that fast food deliciousness.

When the young lady passed my giant Coke through the window I realized the giant 32 oz. cup of carbonated corn syrup wouldn’t fit into my cup holder.  

Hands full, Coke between my legs and fat from my double cheeseburger grease dripping on my shirt, I had a hard time holding onto my faux-leather covered steering wheel. I was having a serious problem staying in my lane on Hopkins Road.

I still couldn’t find a place to put my fizzy drink; it was just too much to handle and the condensation was soaking though my pants. It was top-heavy and I couldn’t drink it fast enough. Nowadays there are so many things to occupy us, it’s hard for us to decide what’s important.

We try to stay healthy. Fast food doesn’t help at all. But how do we keep ourselves fit and the place we live healthy? What is healthy, other than right choice of food and a healthy community? We want to keep our community attractive; it’s like our home or our clean cotton shirt. We wouldn’t leave our grass uncut or allow secret sauce to live on our shirt or in our carpet.

We want a clean aesthetic community with restaurants, entertainment spots and outdoor opportunities. But we also should have well-landscaped community entrances like a trimmed sidewalk leading to our front door; our community front porch should be clean, landscaped and welcoming. Our county entrance at Route 10 has been cleaned up a bit but when someone enters our beloved community from Route 288 south, the scenery leaves a lot to be desired.

My belly pushed up on my sternum and I felt like I had overdone it. I wished I could burp some of that fullness away but it lay on my stomach like the glut of apathy we live with everyday. Slipping forward my big soda just about hit the floor of my Honda. Out of control – maybe fast-food restaurants give you too much like government takes too much control.

As you drive south on Jefferson Davis Highway, viewing used car lots, car-parts retailers and on Wednesday next week, if the Board of Supervisors approves it, a vehicle-title loan company – buy your used car, fix it and borrow on it at 220 percent just by crisscrossing the street.

Jefferson Davis Highway should continue to be a revitalization area. Until recently, vehicle loan and other predatory businesses were verboten. They don’t add quality to a community. According to several studies, they reduce property values and discourage good businesses from locating nearby. We want to revitalize, to brighten our community, not drag it down with predatory businesses. But our board is pro-business. It doesn’t matter what kind of business – it could be a brothel, but since it is a business, the case would be approved if it is located on Route 1.

Not only do our elected officials allow predatory businesses on certain strips of highway, they also could care less about how businesses look on these stretches of road.

Consider the new Bojangles in front of the Food Lion, not a half-a-mile south of the proposed vehicle-title lender. It was built backwards.

The county allowed the building façade to be positioned away from the road. The trash dumpsters and maintenance area are facing Jeff Davis instead of the way the other restaurants are attractively configured to face the road. I would like planning to explain why they would do something like that.   

Just like the special sauce dripping on my shirt; aesthetic appeal is not considered. “Who gives a crap, it’s on JD. They don’t care. Well, I travel Jeff Davis and I care and wonder, would the county approve a vehicle title lender or a backwards building in Midlothian Village?

What would our biggest proponents of the free market think if a ghetto was built next to their business or neighborhood? Like a sloppy burger and oversized fry and drink, a lack of concern about one’s health and community will come back to haunt those who don’t care. Once the stain is made, spot remover doesn’t really work.  

Come on, the gateway of our community doesn’t need predatory lenders, brothels or careless architecture.  

Our leaders need to lead and care about the places that are not in their backyard and don’t affect the value of their property. Let’s not allow, in this case, the vehicle title lenders to craft the ordinance (true statement). It’s not about those who approve such trash; it’s about those taxpayers who want a quality neighborhood and community. I’m begging readers to take the time to speak their mind at the BOS meeting at the public meeting room on June 26 at 6:30 p.m.


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