Good news from Houston, Texas. Strong community opposition there has resulted in a decision by Wal-Mart to break a land deal for a proposed supercenter. The West Road Alliance announced this week that “after careful consideration by Wal-Mart of our concerns regarding the West Road property, Wal-Mart has terminated its contract with Avanti Properties to purchase the land. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality! We couldn’t have convinced Wal-Mart to find another location without your efforts. ” The West Road Alliance is now focusing on working with the Trust for Public Land to quickly get the property off the market, so that the Alliance can purchase the property and put it to good use for the benefit of the community. “Our intent is to quickly curtail any further development of the property, and to create community greenspace…We have formed a new nonprofit corporation, West Road Community Preservation Association. The WRCPA will be the official organization that will receive and disburse funds for the purchase and development of the West Road property…The West Road Alliance’s goal is to make the land on West Road directly across from Gleason Elementary a greenspace to prevent retailers from developing it. This proposed site is adjacent to federally protected wetlands in the Willow Lake community, directly across the street from Gleason Elementary. As residents of areas closest to this planned development, we have reasons to be concerned and several neighborhoods have joined together in the grassroots organization known as The West Road Alliance sent Wal-Mart Realty a petition bearing the names of over 5,000 residents, along with a message that the company should find an alternative site. “With a great deal of undeveloped land in that area,” the West Road Alliance wrote, “it is unclear why you would choose a site across from an elementary school on a road that is already congested several times a day from school and commuter traffic. In addition, as homeowners, we are concerned about Wal-Mart paving over 35 acres of what is now undeveloped land that acts as a natural water retention device in a historically flood prone area…Many of us have included in our opposition a complete boycott of Wal-Mart stores and we will continue to refrain from shopping at Wal-Mart stores until an alternative site that is more acceptable to the community is selected. We do not believe that the two Wal-Mart stores within a reasonable distance from our homes…raise the unique concerns regarding school safety, traffic congestion and flooding that the West Road site faces. Please consider these concerns and pursue an alternate site. We believe that Wal-Mart can choose to be a responsible part of the community and we can make this a positive situation for all concerned. ” On January 8th, the Alliance announced that Wal-Mart had ended their quest for the property.
For more information about the success in Houston, contact the West Road Alliance at [email protected] For more background on this case, search this Newsflash page by the word “Houston”. For other Texas victories, search by the state name.