A group of angry residents on the southside of Springfield, Illinois are organizing to keep a Wal-Mart supercenter out of their hair. Wal-Mart has announced plans to build a superstore on Wabash Ave, and the Southwest Springfield Neighborhood Association packed a room with more than 200 people this week to begin a campaign to stop the oversized retailer. The group has begun a postcard campaign aimed at members of the City Council, and Mayor Tim Davlin. Alderman. Bruce Strom, whose district would be affected, attended the citizen’s meeting September 27th. “This is an attempt to reach out and have constituents of other aldermen … say, ‘Look, we don’t think this is right. Even though it’s not on our side of town, we don’t think it’s right,” Strom was quoted as saying in the Springfield State Journal Register. Traffic is a major focus of the group, which says local roads can’t handle the thousands of new car trips that a supercenter will generate. “The infrastructure does not support putting this type of intense commercial usage at this particular location,” Strom said. The Springfield Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission was set to begin hearings next week, but Wal-Mart’s has asked for a delay so the Illinois Department of Transportation can review traffic plans. The Springfield City Council gets the final say on the project. Wal-Mart had to withdraw plans for another store in Springfield last year, when strong community opposition pushed them out. The newspaper says the retailer has plans for another store in Springfield, part of the saturation strategy employed by the Arkansas discounter.
Once again, the same familiar pattern. Wal-Mart announces a supercenter, hundreds of citizens start of organize to stop it. The neighborhood group opposing Wal-Mart has a website, www.swsna.org.