T-Time Development Committee chair Karen Strauss has announced that the former driving range will become a driving range again.
That’s a fine idea. Maybe golf and antique arcade games are the only ways to attract young people to Eastham. But they’re going to need more than a three wood and a roll of quarters. They’re going to need to eat.
That’s why I have agreed, after completing my current journalism fellowship at the Independent, to become chair and sole member of the T-Time Redevelopment Committee. In my new role, I will be proposing a dual use for the site: part driving range, part Whole Foods-type grocery store.
The catch, of course, is that before Stop & Shop sold the 11-acre T-Time property to the town, the company placed a restrictive covenant on it. Under the terms of the deed restriction, no food or drink may be sold there for offsite consumption for the next 99 years.
I’m currently 18, so I might still be kicking around in the year 2120, but for our septuagenarian readers I’ve got an idea to circumvent this restriction. The new grocery store could implement an “all you have to eat” policy, where shoppers would be forced to consume the entirety of their purchases onsite, before leaving the store.
Could it be done? When I asked Art Autorino, chair of the Eastham Select Board, he was enthused.
“Shared meals are always a source of joy,” he said, “and an all-you-have-to-eat supermarket where Outer Cape residents can chow down on frozen ground beef and raw onions in the company of strangers might add to the vibrancy of our community.”
Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe declined my requests for an interview, but she wrote Sunday in an email, “Weren’t you just complaining about rats? Now you want to introduce a feeding ground?”
To save on labor costs, the redevelopment committee proposes staffing the store exclusively with “Marty” robots, who are now facing hard times after losing their jobs when Stop & Shop reached a new collective bargaining agreement with its employees. The T-Time food emporium would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide customers adequate time to consume their pistachio nut clusters and Stony Island craft beers.
To prepare food purchased in the store, kitchen space could be rented by the hour. Rental fees for low-income residents would be subsidized by a community impact fee levied on purchasers of Wagyu beef and Count Chocula breakfast cereal.
A partnership could be set up with the underutilized Cape Cod National Seashore police force, which would station guards at store exits to ensure no shoppers leave the store with uneaten goods.
Don’t like my plan? Things could be worse for the cauliflower-crust pizza eaters among us. At least I’m not proposing a Costco.