A developer wants to put a 203,750 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter 1,700 feet from the Lower Macungie, PA Middle School, and a new road will run through the middle of the school property to the Wal-Mart. The No Mart Coalition, which has been fighting the project, is concerned about increased traffic, crime, and the sale of guns, all happening within the shadow of a large public school. According to Anne Marie Crown, a No Mart leader, crime in nearby Pottsville, which is already graced by a Wal-Mart, has shot up 97% in the year and a half since the Wal-Mart there opened. No Mart has collected more than 2,500 signatures against the huge superstore, one of the biggest Wal-Mart builds. Engineers for the Nashville developer, JDN, issued a study which (surprise) showed that the megastore would have no impact on traffic! A Wal-Mart spokesman has assured local residents that his company does not enter a town with the intention of wiping out the small businesses there. “The real competitors we go head to head with,” Keith Morris said, “are the other national chains like Kmart, Ames and Rich’s.” On July 8th, the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission voted unanimously to advise Township Supervisors to reject the Wal-Mart plan unless the developer agrees to road improvements. The Commission said the current plans were inconsistent with the Town’s comprehensive land use plan, and would require the removal of fiber optic lines or condemning of homes at a cost of nearly half a million dollars. The motion to reject the plan came at the stroke of midnight, after 4 hours of debate in front of a packed crowd of 150 residents. The Wal-Mart coach turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. But the real vote comes on Thursday, July 16th, when the Supervisors take up the issue. “No Mart will go as far as it can,” vowed Anne Marie Crown. “We will be in it for the long haul.”
The No Mart Coalition needs money and volunteer help. To offer your assistance, go to the No Mart Coaltion website at www.enter.net/-tilde-wrk1/nomart, or send a check to: Concerned Citizens for Responsible Land Development, Box 3413, Wescosville, PA 18106.