We’d like to express our support for the views of Connie Barron as published in last week’s edition of BCN. She was concerned about the “variance” granted by the Blanco I.S.D. for construction of a “big box” convenience store at Hwy 281 and 13th Street.
Her concerns about the economic impact such a store might have on already established businesses in Blanco are certainly valid.
It is one thing to allow a commercial establishment to come to Blanco that will create new jobs in the community. It is quite another thing if that establishment simply takes business away from existing enterprises in the city. One of the charms of our small town is the small scale, small town-sized, often locally-owned businesses we have.
It would be a shame if a large corporate entity came in and, as a result, one or more of our local businesses had to close. What’s to be gained for the community except perhaps to save a few cents on a few purchases and is that really worth it?
Another issue posed in Ms. Barron’s letter concerned the look and lighting of the proposed new business and how it would impact the small town “feel” of Blanco.
These too are very valid concerns. We definitely don’t want to end up looking like Marble Falls, with just one long stream of standard, corporate designed, “Anywhere U.S.A.” structures fronting our stretch of Highway 281. Who wants to live in a strip mall?
Our assumption is that the Blanco I.S.D. may have simply expressed no objection to a business such as the one proposed being that close to the elementary school (we do have concerns that increased traffic at that location would impact the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists going to and from the school and the library).
But the real decision on the wisdom of letting that business come to Blanco in the first place does not rest with the Blanco I.S.D.. It lies with the City Council.
Making sure the design of the building, its signage, and its outdoor lighting enhance and do not distract from the overall small town feel of Blanco falls within the purview of the appointed Blanco Planning & Zoning Commission and, ultimately, with the elected Blanco City Council.
All these folks are basically unpaid public servants in the truest sense of the word and work hard to make the best decisions possible for Blanco.
As citizens, we should all give them our full support…which includes making them aware of citizen concerns before decisions are made that will be hard or impossible to reverse later on.
The “big box” store proposal as related in Ms. Barron’s letter seems to be just such an issue.
We are looking forward to returning soon from our time working in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We just hope that when we return we will still recognize the small town we fell in love with.
Wayne & Martha Gosnell
Residents, Blanco, Texas