Citizens in Flourtown, Pennsylvania are appalled that town officials are trying to assist a developer put in a Walgreen discount store (it’s not just a drug store) near an historic inn. The Walgreens will surround the Black Horse Inn with asphalt.Here’s a letter passed on to Sprawl-Busters, written by a resident of Flourtown to the CEO of Walgreens. The letter has not been answered: “Dave Bernauer CEO, Walgreen’s, Walgreen Co., 200 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, IL. 60015. Dear Dave, My family, along with many others, moved to College Avenue in Flourtown in the early fifties. We have all seen vast change as the area grew in housing, shopping centers, convenience stores and traffic that comes with progress. As much as most of us hate to admit it, most of this growth was needed and welcomed. Progress is progress, but when does it become too much for the communities best interest? Today, as you ride north on Bethlehem Pike from Chestnut Hill, there are many properties on the Pike in Erdenheim and Flourtown. Most small businesses are located in older properties or historic buildings not looking much different than in the fifties. Unfortunately, many are vacant now! As you reach the north end of Flourtown, you will find most of the commercial development that took place in the late fifties and sixties. Although not ideal, this commercial area at the north end of Flourtown has and does work to meet the needs of the community. At the south end of our town, along Bethlehem Pike, in Flourtown proper, there are only two open spaces left. These fall in a one-block area bordered by Wissahickon Avenue, Bysher and College Avenues. On the east side of the Pike there is the Carson property, founded in 1907 as Carson College for Orphan Girls, a 105 acre farm, school and housing listed on the National Register of Historic Places.On the west side is the Black Horse Inn property. Long established private residences surround both of these properties. Over the past few years our Township Commissioners, with little vision and in spite of the community protests, voted to change the Black Horse property’s zoning. This was done before the involvement of the present developer, who is now exploiting a bad decision by Commissioners who do not have the ability or courage to rescind their choices. The people that it stands to hurt the most are the residents. These long established neighborhoods are now at risk. On Bysher and College Avenues there are at least a dozen second and third generation families who will bare the brunt of the negative impact of this presently planned development. Some homes back up less than 5 feet from your property. These people spent their lives developing these neighborhoods only to see their properties dramatically and negatively impacted by a large commercial expansion. It seems they have nowhere to turn. There are other locations in or around Flourtown that are much more suited to such an aggressive development and should be looked at carefully. I am sure it is not your company’s intention to destroy neighborhoods, but this development surely will. I am inviting you to come to our town in person, quietly, to meet informally with any one of us in these neighborhoods. This meeting will not include any special interest groups, politicians, bean counters or developers – just the people whose lives your store will surely impact. Thank you for your consideration and time in this matter.”
Walgreens seems to be attracted to razing historic properties and putting up Walgreens discount store (it’s not just a drug store). In my hometown of Greenfield, Massachusetts, a developer convinced local officials that tearing down five Victorian era homes to build a Walgreens was good land use — even though the developer showed that the town would get little by way of net tax revenue or jobs when the store is finished. For more stories about communities against Walgreens, search this database by the company’s name. Walgreen’s letter back to this resident must have been lost in the mail.