Monday, April 30, 2012

This is the letter I am sending to Jerry Golub, President and Chief Operating Officer of Price Chopper Supermarkets.

In 1963, the demolition of Penn Station in New York City began. Today this loss is widely seen as a terrible mistake that serves as a turning point in the contemporary preservation movement. Closer to home, in November 2002, Nigro Construction tore down the Defreest-Church House in Defreestville to make way for a Target Store. In both cases the demolitions took place despite community opposition.

Currently St. Patrick’s Church, rectory and school in Watervliet are the “target” of Nigro and Price Chopper. Full disclosure is that I am not a resident of Watervliet, but I do live in the Capital District, my nephew was married at St. Patrick’s and a friend attended the school. I shop at the Price Chopper in East Greenbush, and I have friends who work for your company. I am a history buff, have a bachelor’s degree in history, love historic sites and am very interested in historic preservation. I have roots in upstate New York that go back to 1790 at minimum. I believe in being a dedicated guardian of the lands and buildings that in reality are only ours temporarily. I beg you to reconsider this plan. Once St. Patrick’s is gone, it can’t be replaced. Please do not destroy a beloved part of the community’s history.

On your website, Mona Golub, Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services states: "We've grown up surrounded by this business and it’s been ingrained in us that the company is attached to the community and to non-profits that benefit the community.” How can you make such a statement and then ignore the opposition to replacing St. Patrick’s with a Price Chopper, a parking lot, and a strip plaza?  This plan assumes there is a dearth of derelict buildings in Watervliet on nearby sites that are as good or better that St. Patrick’s. It is hardly community-oriented to leave behind another abandoned big box, which is something Price Chopper does far too often. Why not renovate your existing structure for a change and spread good will instead?

If this plan goes through, the day the wrecking ball hits St. Patrick’s, I will send you my Advantage Card (it is in my husband’s name) and never set foot in a Price Chopper again, no matter the location. I will encourage all my friends and family to do the same; facebook is a very powerful force in this regard. I made a vow to never patronize Target when they erased the Defreest-Church House from the face of the Earth. I've kept my promise for nearly ten years; I have never darkened any of that chain's doors, in any town. So it will be no sweat to go only to Hannaford, Stewarts, and the Honest Weight Food Co-op instead of Price Chopper.

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