In 1989, Alma Hirsch sold a tract of land to the city of Warsaw, Missouri on the condition that the land be used for high quality industrial development. That was nine years ago. The city now has some very different ideas in mind for that land. Wal-Mart has offered to pay the city half a million for just over 13 acres of land, and the Board of Alderman must first vote to rezone the land to allow retail use. That proposition has angered the industrial park’s largest landowner, the Burr King Manufacturing company. In a long letter to the editor in the local paper, company President Don McCarthy says his company does not like the thought of relocating after making more than a million investment in their industrial park site, but says: “I do not support revising the zoning of the park to permit retailing…(which) brings with it municipal challenges and potential solutions that can be grossly incompatible with manufacturing. The city’s Planning & Zoning Board voted July 23 not to allow retail use of the Park by a 6-1 vote. But the final say is in the hands of the 5 member Board of Alderman, which includes one member who reportedly has worked to help find land for Wal-Mart in the past. Just before making taking a vote, the P&Z Commission heard from its chairman that he had spoken recenlty with Alma Hirsch, who stood by her commitment to see that her land remain used for industrial purposes. The city, by the way, already has a Wal-Mart, but it’s apparently not big enough to suit its masters. The city also used federal Community Development Block Grant funds to complete work on the industrial park. Despite the strong P&Z vote against rezoning, if the Aldermen vote to allow retail, Warsaw could have the dubious distinction of becoming the first locality in the nation to have an “industrial strength Wal-Mart”. The Alderman vote is scheduled for August 3rd.
To help citizens in their fight to keep their industrial park industrial, contact Don Grove at 1-800-748-8490.