I live in the neighborhood of the big, undeveloped 103-acre Spring Township tract at Broadcasting and Papermill roads and every single time I drive by in my car I stop and kiss its ground.
OK, maybe not every time.
My neighbors and I have been blessed that, despite previous overtures pregnant with hassle, that the land has remained undeveloped. After all, our neck of woods already is choked with commercial businesses, retail stores, restaurants and health facilities.
We need more traffic like we need more hellacious hailstorms.
The traffic already is unbearable on Papermill and Broadcasting. Gridlock wraps around you like a wet towel and smothers you. I don’t know about you, but I like to breathe.
Of course, my neighbors and I aren’t as dense as morning fog. We know only too well that the location at Route 222’s Broadcasting Road interchange offers super-dooper commercial possibilities.
So it wasn’t a total wrecking ball to the gut when word came that Tower Health announced it had sold 80 acres of that property to a partnership of two development companies.
Goodbye dirt and cornfield. Hello brick and mortar.
No exact plans were revealed, but what’s expected is a shopping center with a mixture of big-box retailers and high-end stores and restaurants.
Never mind that there already is yawning empty retail space in the nearby Berkshire Mall.
Never mind that there already is a mammoth existing shopping center across the street.
My God, that corner of our neighborhood will ripple with more energy than Ironman World Championship competitors.
The new development had better offer a new variety of stores and restaurants or it will cannibalize some of the existing ones, creating more vacant space elsewhere. We don’t need any more ghosts around here.
The impact of such, shall it come to pass, will be as subtle as an avalanche on our neighborhood.
It definitely will further wrinkle our serenity. People will come flobbering after all those gaudy new stores and restaurants like circus seals.
Meanwhile, Tower Health supposedly is going to utilize the remaining 23 acres to develop a variety of outpatient and ambulatory services, despite already populating the county with similar services.
I didn’t realize how badly the health of Berks Countians must suck.
What is happening here is the cross-breeding of two seeds that grow on opposite sides of the wall — commerce and intrusion.
Granted, the new development will enhance Spring Township’s tax base. But it’s a thin thread between sacrifice and reward when it comes to quality of life.
There doesn’t seem much room to do so, but both Broadcasting and Papermill had better be widened to accommodate more lanes.
Otherwise, backed-up traffic will be so horrific that we’ll need to put a hole in our vehicle roofs because we will need a periscope to see the what the hell is ahead besides rear bumpers and taillights.
I imagine a lot of my neighbors will be shopping for helicopters.