Driving down Main Street in Manchester these days is like witnessing a mass grave. There are lots of carcasses stroon about, caskets lying open for all to see. The deaths are not of people though, but rather buildings that are lying dormant, victims of continual suburban sprawl. It's embarassing to see the huge amount of shops that have closed in the last couple of years.
The problem is that the elders of Manchester, lacking any hindsight, chose to continually develop areas while leaving other parts of town to rot. Buckland Hills is an enormous complex that has totally destroyed the rest of town. The once proud stores that stood at the Parkade moved to the mall area and then moved again, now residing at the Evergreen Walk area. Manchester has lost their tax revenue.
The bleeding will continue until Manchester is stuck with massive amounts of empty, overdeveloped land. For a preview of what's to come drive down Broad Street and see the huge stores that callous retailers have left behind to move to fancier plazas. For some reason zoning allowed Stop and Shop to move to a store 5o feet away and leave their old building abandoned. Eventually the population of Manchester will be huge, but the town will completely lack the tax dollars to support civic requirements. They will only have old rotten shells of stores because of a total lack of civic planning.
This is not just a Manchester problem though. Most towns love it when developers want to build new stores. It brings in a quick dollar for the town. In the end though, the town loses its civic charm and succumbs to all the problems of retail sprawl. Already retailers are moving on to South Windsor, seeing fresh new opportunities to pervert a perfectly nice town.
The answer is for Manchester townsfolk to stand up to developers and not allow them to build. If a retail store wishes to come into town, tell them there are plenty of buildings already available. Or better yet, decimate the old retail plazas that are empty and make green space to regain some of the town's charm. That would be an effective use of tax dollars.
Thanks go to R-dogg, who is just as outraged by the decline of Hartford suburbs as I am. Most of these ideas are sprouted from his genius mind.