Second Wal-Mart open house meeting held
At Tremper High School last night, about 75 local citizens were present to review the site plans, speak with Wal-Mart representatives, and voice their opinions regarding the proposed 90,202 square foot Wal-Mart store to be erected at the corner of 80th Street and 30th Avenue. The store is being called “Kenosha South.” It is planned to be the same store as the one in Greendale across from Macy’s.
This meeting was hosted by Alderperson Ray Misner, the alderperson for the district. Again, Mayor Keith Bosman was on hand. He also attended Wednesday night’s meeting at the KUSD Educational Support Center. Other alderpersons present at this second meeting were: Anthony Kennedy, Jesse Downing, and Lawrence Green.
One of the Wal-Mart representatives said that this is an example of Wal-Mart’s “green concept.” Their aim is to reduce the trucking of produce and use local goods whenever possible. “This will be a catalyst to rejuvenate the area and bring stores that are missing to the area.” He mentioned businesses like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Olive Garden, but he also confessed that he didn’t know the area too well and didn’t know exactly what stores were lacking in the area.
One of the ladies milling around mentioned the lack of cleanliness in the stores. That is exactly why the Wal-Mart representatives were there tonight: to hear the concerns of the citizens.
“This will bring jobs to the area,” a Wal-Mart representative said. “There are a lot of closed stores in the area. The area is going blighted, going dark.” “But, will the jobs be minimum wage?” one of the citizens asked. “No minimum wage people work here,” answered the rep.
Another Wal-Mart representative was overheard to say that there is no possibility to expand the area to the east. He said, “They are willing to accept whatever the city deed will say with respect to property restrictions.” This is the same kind of sentiment that was expressed at Wednesday night’s meeting. Wal-Mart is ready to accept whatever specifications and restrictions the city would like to place on it. Another citizen said that the store was just “too big” for the area.
“This store will balance your prices,” said a Wal-Mart rep. “The other grocery stores in the area are gouging you. You’ll be able to buy the same groceries for $70 at Wal-Mart’s that you would have to pay $100 for at the other nearby grocery stores. The consumer is the winner here.”
“Will the store be a 24-hour store?” “That depends on what the city wants,” answered the rep. “When will the store be built?” “If the citizens and the city are supportive, the store could be set to open next year. We didn’t have the support last time. But, it’s a different economy, different times now.”
“Won’t Roger and Marv’s people lose their jobs? Won’t Piggly Wiggly and Super-Valu close down?” people wanted to know. “They may be able to stay open, they just may not be able to charge the higher prices. They may have to accept lower profits. They have to remain competitive in order to stay in business. Again, it’s the consumer that wins here.”
What are your thoughts on the two new Wal-Mart stores?