Worth a con­ver­sa­tion?

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION - Pub­lisher

The si­lence, as they say, has been deaf­en­ing. Two weeks ago this news­pa­per pub­lished a front-page story on the pos­si­bil­ity of a Fam­ily Dol­lar store ris­ing from the bu­colic land­scape that is Rap­pa­han­nock’s, and yet . . .

No out­raged let­ters to the ed­i­tor. No lo­cal ci­ti­zens stop­ping by our of­fice or call­ing on the phone to won­der how to protest. No elected of­fi­cials or­ga­niz­ing op­po­si­tion.

It’s par­tic­u­larly puz­zling given the past con­cern and ar­tic­u­late ag­i­ta­tion gen­er­ated by ev­ery­thing from cell tow­ers and ath­letic field lights to, most re­cently, af­ford­able hous­ing in the county seat, e.g. “We didn’t move all the way out here so that we would have to look at an eye­sore of a Fam­ily Dol­lar store!”

Per­haps be­hind the scenes, as what hap­pened with the af­ford­able hous­ing con­tro­versy in Washington, a group of lo­cal in­vestors is mak­ing a com­pet­ing of­fer on the Fam­ily Dol­lar site next to the bank on U.S. 211? If so, they could then fran­chise the site to a sim­i­lar store, like Dol­lar Tree, but “re­tain lo­cal con­trol?”

What­ever re­tail es­tab­lish­ment (if any) oc­cu­pies the com­mer­cially zoned site might in­deed be wel­come if it would mean less driv­ing out of the county to ob­tain ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties, from medicine to food sta­ples.

In an ideal world, that would mean a phar­macy to­gether with a well-stocked gro­cery (in­clud­ing a show­case for lo­cal foods).

In­stead, what a Fam­ily Dol­lar store’s in­ven­tory will fea­ture are lots of un­help­ful and un­healthy potato chips, soft drinks, beauty aids and poorly made tchotchkes from China.

And you can bet that the ar­chi­tec­ture of the newly built re­tail store won’t be said to be Vir­ginia Pied­mont ver­nac­u­lar (re­flect­ing in­dige­nous build­ing ma­te­ri­als and lo­cal tra­di­tions). And in that re­spect, the new store might fit right in with the ex­ist­ing auto junk­yard next to the bank, which no one seems to no­tice.

But aren’t the is­sues raised by a pos­si­ble Fam­ily Dol­lar store worth at least some no­tice – and an en­su­ing con­ver­sa­tion?

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