EDITOR’S DESK: On Walgreens walking
It's always a pleasure to find truly good news. Of course, before I run off about this, I understand it's possible some of you out there might have been looking forward
to having a Walgreens drug store with a modernistical drive-through for convenient pharmaceutical pickups in the 3000 block of West Colorado Avenue. And it's true
that the architecture there now - other than the early 1900s house at the corner - is not likely to make any “walking tour” guides anytime soon.
The fact is, that part of the Avenue has come perilously close to turning into Fast Food Row in recent years (although the design changes the new KFC agreed to may
start changing that trend). Yet still and all, the way I see it, letting a Walgreens into that block would have been like giving a fox the key to the henhouse. Do I say that
just because Walgreens is a big corporation - the kind that has methodically wiped out hometown drug stores and never did and never will give a whit about the
Westside's or anywhere else's “small-town atmosphere”? No, because the flip side of that heartless corporate mentality is efficiency, meaning the availability of all
manner of medicines year-round, day and night - a fact I've benefitted from as much as anyone else over the years. And I actually do like it that a new Walgreens is
going to open in Uintah Gardens next year. It'll fit right in there, in an area that's really only been built up within the last 30 years or so.
But I just can't see such an edifice on Colorado Avenue. There's too much history there, too much of the essence of the old Westside, to lose any more blocks to the anywhere-ville, Powers Boulevard prefab look and feel. Nor is that old Westside spirit just some relic for us to ponder in a museum case. It's there, on view, along most parts of the Avenue - including the block Walgreens wanted to buy out - where individual entrepreneurs, braving corporations, inflation and a multitude of other uncertainties, keep trying to make a living on their own, the old-fashioned way.
That's why, I suppose, after hearing the give-up news this week from Walgreens and hanging up the phone, a single word bubbled out: "Yes!"