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Area business opposes new competition (part 3876 of an infinite-part series)

If there's one thing I learned campaigning during the 2017 municipal elections, it's as follows: When a resident asks a politician "what do you think about adding commercial development in this neighborhood?", the correct answer is always "I'm opposed to it."

I'm reminded of this lesson when reading about the tale of the horrid vacant building which used to be Frontier Communications' Stamford headquarters at the High Ridge Office Park.

Readers may be familiar with Life Time Fitness' ongoing saga to put a new health club a stone's throw from the Five Guys near Exit 35. It's been previously opposed by community members on the usual pretextual grounds of traffic, noise, preservation of historical landmarks (not making that up), etc., etc.

Which makes the candor of the Italian Center and JCC leaders in opposing its construction so refreshing. "[Life Time] would damage us severely," said one leader. "Life Time needs to play by the rules and not create their own rules," said another. "An unlikely [sic - likely and obvious] adversary has emerged in the fight against a new upscale health club in a turn of River office park--long-standing nonprofit clubs that fear competition could put them out of business." reports the Advocate. Oh. You don't say.

To be fair, I don't begrudge any leader of these organizations dutifully showing up and playing their part any more or less than I begrudge a Generic Talking Head Republican and Generic Talking Head Democrat on a three-letter-station morning news show as to whether the latest this or that from the White House will bring us the Greatest America America's Ever Seen or Armageddon. Who knows if these leaders even believe what they are saying? We just know that they feel obligated to say it.

As to whether Life Time Fitness should get their text change to allow for their health club... I don't have a strong opinion. It hardly strikes me as unreasonable that, however, if they get it approved, they give something back to the community who will be negatively impacted by the increased traffic and congestion the health club will cause. If Life Time offered to write a check--let's call it an even $1000--to everyone who lives within a mile of the proposed site, I predict the opposition to the project would wither away.

Full disclosure: I attended JCC summer camp beginning circa 1999 and have played basketball there ever since. If Life Time Fitness gets its health club near Exit 35, I'll continue going to the JCC. They have a wonderful new gymnasium. Many thanks to Keith and Brian (and surely many others) for making that a reality.

#JCC #rentseeking #LifeTimeFitness #ItalianCenter