Sam Walton boasted in his autobiography that he had saturated 40 stores within 100 square miles of Springfield, Missouri. That pattern continues today, as evidenced by this report from sprawl-busters in Columbia, Missouri: “We currently have one Wal-Mart, one Wal-Mart supercenter and a Sam’s Club in a town of 84,000. We are a college town, and the student population is not included in the census. Now Wal-Mart is proposing to build three more supercenters. They already have C-1 commercial land for two of them. One of the supercenters will replace the “regular Wal-Mart.” This is the one we are the most concerned about. This particular box store will be built on approximately 17.5 acres in a primarily residential neighborhood. The most bothersome thing is that this 172,000 s.f. store will be directly across the street from an elementary school, where 600+ students attend, and a block away from a middle school with 900+ students. The streets are not even wide enough for two busses to pass each other, let alone be able to withstand 10,000 to 12,000 more vehicles per day. Our issue with this store is the safety of the children. This is NOT an appropriate site for a super Wal-Mart.
The neighborhood association that backs up and sides the tract of land, voted not to allow the entire parcel to be zoned CP or Planned zone. People were told by the developer, Stan Kroenke’s, lawyer that if the CP zoning went through, they MIGHT do this and they MIGHT do that about lighting and berming, delivery times, etc. We trusted what was said about as much as we would trust a poisonous snake. We were told if the CP zoning was not voted in, ‘they would build it anyway’ with no concessions to the surrounding neighborhoods. So our hope, as the organization Community First, is that they are bluffing. We have begun to meet, ordered 500 lawn signs, and collected enough donations to cover the cost of the signs. We have petitions circulating, plans for an ad in the newspaper, and have a rally set after the petitions are collected. Our website is www.nobroadwaywalmart.com. We are fighting our own hometown billionaires.
Stan Kroenke married into the Walton family, and is now one of the largest developers in the country. The Kroenke Group (TKG) will have no trouble outspending the neighbors who are trying to stop this saturation of their hometown. To help Community First battle the Walton family, go to their website listed above.