Sunday, May 27, 2007

Whither Ruby Farm? Preservation, or Pabst Farms II

Another major piece of Waukesha County - - Ruby Farm - - is being tugged in opposite directions - - development, or 'development,' or preservation.

The key paragraph in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about Ruby Farm, linked above, tells the tale:

"A road-widening project scheduled for next year will demolish part of the farmstead. The fate of the remainder lies with a developer who bought the farm and adjacent vacant land."

You'd think that at some point there would be a therapeutic shock of recognition, a bolt of awareness, an "ah-ha" moment that would put the traffic congestion, water depletion and rising taxes for local services in Waukesha County into bold view, along these lines:

The more people you cram into once-open spaces, the more the negatives outweigh the positives, including lost heritage and future sustainability.

Who knows what it will take for people to see the light?

Another $20 million in public dollars to buy the Pabst Farms mega-mall a freeway interchange?

Tens of millions of dollars to pipe in and return Lake Michigan water to communities where sprawl has made a once water-rich zone into a region of shortage?

Setting the date of the ceremony that some planner at SEWRPC (the regional planning commission) could mathematically pinpoint for Developer Victory Day in Waukesha County.

That's the date certain on which Waukesha County developers will announce the cutting of the last tree, the paving of the final quarter-acre of farmland, and draining of the last piece of wetlands - - for something more valuable: paving the County's 20,000th strip mall parking space.

Let's hope the preservationists working to save Ruby Farms prevail, and draw a line in the sand, or the meadow, saying, "after this, no more."


Unknown said...

I love the topic. I reported on it and made a video for an MTV application. I think you'll enjoy it.

James Rowen said...

Charlie: Congratulations. A brilliant video. I will post it and distribute it widely.