Of shopping and the Chesterfield Mountains

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, when you find yourself shopping at Short Pump. I know we’re supposed to shop local, as in Chesterfield or in our own little villages, but we can’t always find what we need or want right here.

So off we go to Hull Street or Midlothian, and if we want to pay a little more, then we head to the Pump where life is beautiful all the time and there’s a new SUV crossover in every driveway.

I’d been looking for a new winter coat. Linda saw an ad for a one-day sale, so we were off to Joseph A. Bank. We thought it must be pretty great; after all they do all those deep-voiced and classy TV commercials. Surprised we were when we arrived after the 30 minute adventure across 288 at four in the afternoon. Did you know that the store is barely larger than my living room? And you haven’t seen my living room. It was a sort of bait and switch.

So why don’t we have a Joseph A. Bank over here in southeast Chesterfield? Why does Dillard’s charge $50 more for the same jacket at Short Pump than they do at Southpark Mall? Why do we work, shop and play in Henrico when we could be doing it right here?

Dem-o-graph-ics – the statistical data of a population, especially those showing average age, income, education, etc. The higher the average income and the more rooftops, the better services and public facilities, including hospitals and cultural venues that become available.

Here on the south side of the Chesterfield Mountains that soar above the socioeconomic divide, we provide jobs for absentee residents, with industrially stable concerns such as Dupont, Dominion Power, Honeywell and Phillip Morris Park 500. Three out of the top five employers are located south of the Chesterfield Mountains. We supply many of the jobs that support retail, restaurants and home building on the leeward slope where villages such as Midlothian grow and prosper. If you get caught in traffic going west on Rt. 10 at Old Stage Road, watch how the traffic dissipates at Interstate 95.  Midlothian has higher end housing, the high end retail and the cool places to hang out - oh, sorry the cool places to hang out are in Richmond. And higher end rooftops bring better retail, (and I don’t mean a bigger Walmart) restaurants and so forth.

Check out community demographics online (http://www.chesterfield.gov/content2.aspx?id=3437). You will find it interesting that the community evaluations making up the various planning areas, generally in the southern part of the county, carries the load of industrial development. Bermuda district has 37 million square feet, Dale has 7.1 million, which combined dwarf Clover Hill’s 9 million square feet of industrial space. Matoaca district, the northern portion, and Midlothian district have just about zero percent industrial space while touting a combined retail and service element of 17.3 million square feet.

But Steven Weinberg, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, famously wrote, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

The same goes here. The only difference is that, as a whole, why is there so much diversity in income, diversity in facilities, diversity in clean business. Paraphrasing Weinberg, it is what it is.

But could it be better? Could there be a balanced county? Could we level the mountains that divide us? It has often been said, if the southern end of the county, Bermuda, Dale and half of Matoaca districts seceded from the county the rest would be left struggling for tax dollars – although I can’t get an official confirmation of this from the county’s budget and finance department.

So that leaves us wondering. How can the southern half of Chesterfield gain equality with the northerners? Just like the exclamation of the Confederates to the Yankees, “the south will rise again."


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