Wal-Mart storms Manhattan. No, its not the Empire State — it’s the small town of Manhattan, Kansas. According to sprawl-busters there, Wal-Mart is proposing to build a 150,000 s.f. supercenter directly abutting a quiet residential neighborhood, and contiguous with the city’s only low-development “natural” park area. Residents also fear that if the Wal-Mart is approved, the floodgate will open to develop even more land on the outskirts of town. Manhattan’s land use plan apparently states that there will be only one regional shopping area — the downtown. Manhattan’s downtown already is having problems, and community activists worry that an edge Wal-Mart will make things dramatically worse (see Virginia study below). Residents have complained that Wal-Mart’s traffic “study” is nothing more than an iteration of numbers taken from the Institute for Traffic Engineers (ITE) manual. It’s not the Big Apple, but Wal-Mart intends to take a big bite of the action in Manhattan anyway. As one resident wrote: “Wal-Mart is out for blood”.
Sprawl-busters in Kansas or elsewhere who would like to help the residents of Manhattan keep King Kong out of their town, should send an email to: dmac309ksu.edu.