Sprawl-busters in Hyde Park, NY report that Wal-Mart has returned to this town of 15,000 people to try and locate directly across from the estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “Never in my imagination would I believe that a site such as this would be appropriate for a Wal-Mart” wrote my local contact. “It would virtually destroy the small town quality of life overnight.” Hyde Park is a very busy tourist village, the central attraction being the FDR estate, the Vanderbilt estate, and the Culinary Institute of America. Wal-Mart has been rejected once already in Hyde Park on the same parcel of land. The land in question is zoned for “recreational-commercial”, and would work for a miniature golf course — but not a huge Wal-Mart. The landowners sued the town and cost the town legal fees to defend the current zoning. At a recent town board meeting, one Board member said he would “do everything possible” to keep Wal-Mart out. The location Wal-Mart wants is also on a stretch of semi-rural highway with stone walls.
FDR was returned to office by the voters three times, so maybe Wal-Mart believes it should try two or three times to break into Hyde Park. This site is reminiscent of Wal-Mart’s attempts to locate a store on the boyhood home of George Washington. It seems that Wal-Mart has a penchant for trying to locate near the home of former US presidents. Maybe they will try to locate near Bill Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas. That would probably stir less controversy than the FDR site in Hyde Park. For further info on the Hyde Park controversy — again — contact [email protected]