Lee Price Chopper closing is a blow to a walkable town center
While not directly related to Pittsfield, it seemed too important of a story in my opinion to go unaddressed. With news of the Price Chopper market in the heart of downtown Lee closing, a valuable service that made downtown Lee a truly "walkable" place will be uprooted.
As I discussed in one of my inaugural blog posts, the convenience of having a full-service supermarket only several blocks away makes living downtown truly unique and viable. The same can no longer be said for Lee. Starting in August, the nearest supermarket to downtown Lee will be Big Y on Route 102, a full mile away from the old Price Chopper. That will turn a 5 minute walk within the town center to a 20 minute walk along arterial Route 20, under the Turnpike overpass and negotiating the highway onramp. Never mind the walk back with a bag of groceries. Indeed, compare all of the places within a 1/4-mile (5-minute walk) to Price Chopper with what is within a 1/4 mile of Big Y.
Lee will continue to be an attractive destination for tourists and locals alike, but the locals who call the Town of Lee home will now need to look elsewhere to fulfill an essential service that was available more or less in their backyards. Unfortunately, this will lead to more car dependence and a further disconnect from our food. All is not lost, though. The Lee Farmers' Market will still be in operation on Saturdays on the Town Green; if you live in South County, and especially in the Lee town center, be sure to show your support!