“We chose the current Wal-Mart store location over ten years ago because of its natural beauty” say’s Wal-Mart District Manager George Deitz. But now a proposed Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Cobleskill, NY threatens that very natural beauty. The Lowe’s store will tower over Wal-Mart on a nearby hill, dwarfing the 12-year old big-box store, bathing its newly rehabilitated concrete façade and vast parking lot in a sea of hazy yellow phosphorescent light. This “monstrosity” as Dietz calls it, threatens to darken Wal-Mart with its shadows during the day and blind the store with its lights during the night.
“This suburban sprawl has got to stop” Dietz laments. “When we chose this location, there was nothing here but farms, now there’s car dealerships, gas stations, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and now Lowe’s. It’s like Wal-Mart is being swallowed up by ugly suburban sprawl”.
The real tragedy, according to Dietz, is that Wal-Mart just finished remodeling the interior and exterior of its Cobleskill store. The Wal-Mart exterior just received a major facelift in which its familiar blue and gray was replaced by a more humble and Earthy brown and tan. But Dietz asks, “Who will enjoy looking at Wal-Mart’s exciting new façade when there’s an ugly, behemoth, big-box store looming over it”?
A long-time Wal-Mart employee recounts memories of sitting outside on breaks in the smokers’ shack looking out upon the rolling pastures of the farm just over the hill. “It was just so relaxing, it literally helped to recharge me to go back to work”. But now Wal-Mart employees will look out of their smoking shack and see a dizzying whir of traffic and blinding phosphorescent lights.
A local historic preservation group has issued a scathing critique of the impact that Lowe’s would have on Wal-Mart. They are urging the Town and Village to work together to make sure that the proposed Lowe’s does not adversely impact enjoyment of Wal-Mart’s striking concrete façade.
According to Dietz, “That’s all I’m asking for. We just spent a ton of money painting our entire building brown and tan so that it would be more of a pleasure to look at, and we don’t want to see a Lowe’s come in and spoil that view for everybody”.