Missing the Target
Feb. 23, 2012
By Shea Savage
Two hundred years ago, Williston, Vermont was a lush forest full of natural beauty and thriving ecosystems. Trees dominated the landscape — turning the hills green and, in autumn, brilliant shades of flaming red and electric orange. The land thrived with life, animals and plants.
Today, Taft Corners has different scenery. It’s a wasteland of parked cars and pavement, populated by big box stores and angry drivers stuck in rush-hour traffic.
And now, the town’s sight is set on destroying another habitat in favor of a multi-million dollar chain that will bring nothing but traffic and pollution to our community: Target. I think introducing a Target department store to Williston is a dangerous idea that could have severe consequences if not thought through appropriately. If Vermonters were wise, and could see past the ends of their own noses, they would think this as well.
My main reason for believing that a Target in Williston would be excessive and shortsighted is a simple one that does not seem to be being brought up much; the very obvious problem of destroying yet another habitat that houses plants and animals alike. Earth’s environment is being destroyed. This is a clear fact. The ice caps are melting, factories are belching smoke into the atmosphere, and we are standing here and saying, “Bring it on! We want to continue paving! We want to continue building up and up and up until the only place left to go is nowhere! We want a Target!”
Well, I don’t want a Target. I don’t want to grow up and have to tell my grandchildren stories about how nice Vermont used to be — how beautiful and natural and captivating — because all they see when they see Vermont is a paved slab of parking lot. Target is one step closer to a very bleak future we have in store for us, and that is one thing I do not want to see for this gorgeous state we live in.
Even more to the point: Have you driven through the center of town during the holiday season? It can take 10 minutes just to turn into one of the shopping centers, not to mention the time it takes to find a parking spot and battle your way through the throngs of people. Bringing a Target to town would cause traffic to increase tenfold. Taft Corners would become even more of a disaster area than it already is. We already take in the most money from shoppers than anywhere else in the state, including Burlington and its Church Street Marketplace. We don’t desperately need the money, we aren’t a dead zone in our state, so Target is not needed. It’s as simple as that.
The main argument of the people advocating for Target is simple — they just plain want one. They don’t want to have to travel to all the way to New York just to buy their cheap clothing and shoes. People like to shop, and I certainly don’t begrudge them that. I like shopping, too! But the argument isn’t valid. Why? For one thing, we already have a Wal-Mart. Get your clothes fix there, if you need to. For another thing, doesn’t it seem kind of selfish and thoughtless to put the environment, our community and our small business owners out of sight and out of mind just because Target sells decent stuff cheap? Did we consider the fact that all we could gain from Target really is just that; stuff? We need to learn to consider the greater good before we consider our own personal wants. If we continue to put our own desires over the needs of many, the world will suffer accordingly.
In addition to negatively impacting the environment, introducing a Target to our community would be toxic to small businesses. In order to be able to accurately understand this, it is important to understand exactly what impact Target will make upon the workforce. Consider this: It is estimated that Target will employ approximately 150 workers. However, this small number would be negated by the number of small-business owners that would suffer from introducing another chain to town. As Earth becomes filled with billion-dollar chains like Wal-Mart and Target, wouldn’t it make more sense to begin to support our local business owners? Do the billionnaires who run the show really need the cash that they’ll rake in after placing their footprint upon our town? Buying from local sellers will improve the integrity of Williston and decrease the amount of cash going to those who already have inordinate amounts of it.
I have lived in Williston for almost my entire life. We’ve survived for this long without a Target. Introducing one to town would negatively impact our environment, our community integrity, our traffic control problems and our small-business owners. For these reasons, I encourage every person living in the community to seriously consider, not just the excitement of gaining another shopping opportunity, but also the consequences of this. We are missing the target when we consider adding another billion-dollar giant to Williston. If everyone were to think frankly about this, I think they would see it as well.
Shea Savage is an eighth grade student at Williston Central School. The above guest column was for an assignment in her language arts class, where she was asked to write a persuasive piece on something she felt passionate about.