In March of 2008, a 180,000 s.f. Wal-Mart superstore opened in Granby, New York, listed by Wal-Mart as a store in Fulton, New York on Route 3. Wal-Mart says the Granby superstore has a unique facade, with a wooden front porch and shingled exterior designed to look like a ‘rustic barn’ according to Wal-Mart. It actually would never be mistaken for a barn. The Granby Wal-Mart is part of an inter-municipal agreement which allows the store to be connected to Fulton’s water and sewage system. Oswego county will collect and distribute sales tax revenues outside of the City of Oswego. “We’re one community, we can all work together,” said Fulton’s Mayor. Fulton’s town supervisor told the Oswego County Business magazine that the arrival of Wal-Mart is just the beginning of a development boom within Granby. “Where Wal-Mart goeth, others follow,” she said. “This is a welcome thing for our community.” But where Wal-Mart goeth, traffic follows, and roads need maintenance. Unfortunately for Oswego County taxpayers, Wal-Mart has not agreed to pay for the road improvements needed to get cars to their driveway. At a meeting in late May of Oswego county officials, the county’s highway superintendent made it clear that the county was getting stuck with costs it did not bargain for. “The county was never involved with any discussions with Wal-Mart when they moved into Fulton so the city has been in contact with them.” The highway chief said he was told the City of Fulton was going make Wal-Mart responsible for the road repairs, and that when Wal-Mart was under construction, the roads were damaged and never repaired. The county’s attorney recommended that the county do the work, and then go after the appropriate party to reimburse the county. “We’re aware of the condition of the road,” he said noting that one damage claim had already been filed against the county. This new Wal-Mart supercenter in Fulton/Granby has saturated the market area, and it was not surprising that Wal-Mart backed out of another superstore plan. Plans to turn the existing Oswego, New York Wal-Mart into a supercenter have been scrubbed. A spokesman for Wal-Mart indicated that after reviewing the proposal the retailer decided that the cost for the project was too high. Wal-Mart told officials in Oswego that expansion on the store would begin this spring. This is the second superstore to fall off the edge in the past few months in this area. On April 27th, Sprawl-Busters reported that a Wal-Mart supercenter planned for Liverpool, New York had become the 56th superstore project cancelled or delayed since Wal-Mart announced its growth slowdown on June 2, 2007.
The trade area in Oswego does not need another superstore. In fact, the building of the Granby supercenter could mean that the Oswego Wal-Mart discount store 10 miles away will soon be a “dark store,” joining the empty Wal-Mart stores in Massena and Elmira. Officials in Oswego County would be wise to take this opportunity to prevent the further saturation of big box stores. Oswego County is selling tourism. The county boasts of its “Friendly towns and villages, convenient and well-maintained highways, four seasons of outdoor recreation, incredible fishing, pristine shoreline and wilderness areas, historic places that celebrate our nation’s heritage.” They don’t mention the Wal-Mart supercenters crammed onto its roadways. Readers are urged to email Barry Leemann, Chairman of the Oswego County Legislature at [email protected] with the following message: “Dear Chairman Leemann, Now that Wal-Mart has squeezed another supercenter into the county in Granby, and abandoned plans to expand its Oswego store, its time for the county to close the lid on big box sprawl. Protect your towns and villages, your pristine shorelines and historic places. Big boxes have already saturated the county, and you have more access to cheap, Chinese imports than you need. It’s time for the county legislature to pass a cap of 65,000 s.f. on the size of retail buildings, and put an end to the sprawling of Oswego county.”