Many resients in the small community of College Place, Washington are hoping that the world’s largest home improvement chain won’t get a passing grade for its new big box proposal. Here’s a front line report from residents in College Place: “Home Depot is planning to build a 126,000+ sq. ft., 28-40′ tall structure within 50′ of numerous family homes in College Place. They are planning to take an existing narrow dead-end residential street and make it into an “auxilliary” entrance into the site. This is a street that is too narrow for even sidewalks! Additionally, the school bus stops at the intersection end of the street meaning that numerous children have to walk down the street to catch the bus everyday. How is that for being safety-minded? The city is desperate for revenue and is rolling out the red carpet. We are officially at the midpoint of a “15-day public comment” period, but we get the feeling that the city has already rubber stamped the deal and the comment period is just a formality. There is adequate land available on the southern edge of town near an existing 2-year old Walmart. The city administrator however stated at last night’s council meeting that he wants an anchor store on both ends of town to promote traffic driving through the city. This makes no sense whatsoever. Why force people to drive through residential areas to get between 2 big box stores? This is going to create traffic nightmares like our town of 8,000 has never seen! No one is arguing that the city needs the money, albeit I’d rather support local businesses than an Atlanta based corporation. The city’s comprehensive plan written in the mid 90’s calls for a “building supply store” to be built near the current Wal-Mart along with a new grocery, video store, convenience store, among other things. So why change course and move Home Depot next to a residential neighborhood? Our suspicion is that it is because Lowe’s is going in across the intersection which happens to be in the neighboring town of Walla Walla. Coincidence?
Turn left at Lowe’s, turn right at Home Depot. That’s what it all boils down to in the home improvement free marketplace. In College Place, city officials are in a big rush to paint the town orange, so they can battle it out with Walla Walla’s Lowe’s. For local contacts who want to flunk Home Depot, contact [email protected]