Local officials in Canton, Illinois have given a Wal-Mart supercenter its last rites this week. According to the Canton Daily Ledger, members of the city council have pronounced the Wal-Mart supercenter project on the edge of town, next to its existing store, dead on arrival. The retailer apparently let its options expire on a parcel of land, and the survey stakes on the land are gone. “Quite frankly, that tells me the project is dead at that site,” the executive director of Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development told the city council. “We’re obviously going to lose Wal-Mart,” one Councilman said, suggesting that something else should be done with the site. Wal-Mart officials were supposed to deliberate last month on the proposed new site, which is located adjacent to an existing Wal-Mart. Construction bids for the Wal-Mart Supercenter apparently came in higher than expected because of coal mine shafts on the property. The city still has on its hands another 33 acre site, formerly used by International Harvester, located closer to the downtown, which it has been trying to reuse for retail purposes.
Without much notice or fanfare, Wal-Mart silently scrubbed its plans for a supercenter in Canton. Sprawl-Busters reported on this story on January 24, 2006. We reported at the time that Councilmen were asking, “Are we ready for that kind of growth?” Canton’s downtown already has an empty hardware store, and 12 other vacant lots. City officials seem unable to reconcile the possible destruction Wal-Mart would do on the edge of the city to their on-going problems maintaining a vital downtown commercial core. But this week, Wal-Mart left Canton with nothing to show for its months of behind the scenes work.