Monday, March 16, 2009

So if there is one thing I hate it is poor city planning. This is the worst example of excess, and suburban sameness that I have seen in a long, long time. Just off I-35 south of Kansas City in the suburb of Merriam, KS there is an abandoned strip mall. It makes me kind of sad.

Just before the economy went to hell, Merriam decided it didn't have enough ugly, land wasting, consumption inducing, retail space. This new waste of space is right across the street from another enormous collection of generic buildings in a straight line with excessive parking. That project was built on land that was obtained 7 years ago through the evil government practice of perverting Eminent Domain to create strip malls.

At first, I assumed this project was also stolen from the people for the benefit of corporations. As it turns out, this time Merriam paid home owners full (pre-housing bubble) price, before they converted their homes into parking lots. 

Don't worry about Corporate America though, they won't be paying taxes for this TIF land for a long, long time.

The way I understand it TIF areas should be blighted. You tell me what is more of a blight, a neighborhood full of 1940's ranch style houses and a used car dealership, or a barren landscape surrounded by a useless wall begging to be graffitied.

The ironic twist, as you may have deduced, is that Circuit City was set to be the flagship store. But with all of their poor treatment of workers and bankruptcy, they don't really need a Merriam location anymore.

If you live in Kansas City, take a second to drive up there and look at this wasteland. It is eerie. It makes me more sad than anything to see the community betrayed like this. Let this be a cautionary tale to all city planners. Don't build stuff we don't need with tax payer money, anticipating sales tax revenue that may never exist. Or keep doing it, because it seems like not very many people care.


Anonymous said...

Oh I care my friend. I drive by this several times a week and it saddens me.

Didn't Cindy's mom use to live where the parking lot now stands empty?


Billy Brame said...

I am glad that you care.

I think you are right about Cindy's Mom. I remember her talking about that.

Anonymous said...

Josh isn't so anonymous anymore is he?

Em B said...

Ben and I see that waste of space everyday. It was sad when they knowcked down all the stuff accross the street for that big strip mall, and even sadder when thwy decided they needed a second one across the street and knocked all those houses down. And now that Circuit City wants no part in it, nobody else does either.

I can only offer this - Wilkes, the mayor who built his career on both of those projects was completely ousted from office in April. Biggest voting issues according to the exit polls? The Merriam Village.