I’ve received another email from a council member regarding Barry’s, this one with some good news:
Thank you for contacting me to express your strong support for Barry’s Magic Shop. I know how special this place has been to so many people for such a long time. Please be assured that we really want Barry’s to stay in Wheaton and will do everything we can to keep the shop there. The Wheaton office is working hard to find a compromise to this dilemma. One recommendation is to keep the building where it is but shorten one side of the building by a small amount to allow the walkway to go through the area as planned. Another is to find a site in downtown Wheaton for the Magic Shop with the County paying for most of the moving expenses.
Wheaton needs some pedestrian improvements to help it in its redevelopment, and this walkway is important to these efforts. I am keeping your e-mail in my file, and will continue to monitor this situation so that we can end with a win/win resolution.
Councilmember Nancy Floreen
This is the first time I’ve heard of the county considering the more sensible idea of improving the sidewalk while keeping the building mostly intact, so I’m happy about that and hope the plan goes through.
The person who gets left out of the story though is the original land owner. It will be a sad irony if the land that was taken from him for a supposedly essential improvement is left standing, a seizure without a purpose. Even if things work out for Barry’s — and I hope that they do — it should be remembered that this guy has been completely screwed by the county. He is consistently ignored in the communications from planners, who are careful to make no mention of their use of eminent domain now that his land is securely in their hands.