According to a report in today’s Salem Morning Journal, area residents in Green and Salem Townships have started organizing to fend off the annexation of land into the city of Salem, Ohio slated for a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Residents want to make sure that the County Commissioners know they are opposed to annexation for such a huge project. A grassroots letter-writing campaing has begun, with residents objecting to the traffic problems that a superstore will create at the intersection of East State Street and Cunningham Road, according to resident Beth Ramsey. It is the township roads that will have to carry cars into the Wal-Mart, and residents fear that the two lane roads simply don’t have the carrying capacity to do the job withour deteriorating the level of service on these roadways. “I don’t see how the area can handle the traffic,” one neighbor said. Residents were quick to point out that all the roads leading to the site are township owned and paid for by township taxpayers, but if the land is annexed, the city will get any tax revenue created by the project. Neither the city nor the township has done any financial impact statement to even understand what impact a Wal-Mart superstore would have on public tax revenues. Without such an analysis, public officials have no clue as to what the fiscal impact of the Wal-Mart will really be. Resident Dave Julian told officials the area does not need another Wal-Mart, noting that there are 3 Wal-Marts within a short drive of the proposed location.
Wal-Mart does a zip code analysis of shoppers at their stores, and apparently believe they have a “customer base” to put up another store in Salem. What they never bother to calculate is how the store will effect neighbors and residents in the communities that will bear the brunt of the negative impact of mall shopping. Wal-Mart has beocme the symbol of mass mediocrity, a victor in the battle of price over value. For more details about the community opposition to Wal-Mart in Salem, contact sprawl-busters.