Sprawl-busters in Spartanburg, South Carolina report that Wal-Mart is trying to push a 220,000 s.f. supercenter onto Webber Road and East Main Street. The proposed store would have a 1,800 foot access road that lines up with an entrance to the local Juniior High school, where 880 students travel every school day. Here’s a local report of opposition to the plan: “Local School District, Large Parish, PTSO Board and two homeowner associations, Retirement Center, environmental groups and the local State Senator have banded together with UNANIMOUS opposition to the planned super center in Spartanburg Eastside on East Main Street (Hywy 29). There are NO proponents except the City Council and those from Arkansas. Hearing date is slated for November 16, 2000.” Residents say the access road will draw more traffic into an already congested area. Wal-Mart has produced its own (self-serving) traffic report which indicates that 13,000 cars a day will travel to the supercenter, but of course, this traffic will have “little or no impact” on current traffic patterns. Developers say only 10% of the traffic will use the new access road, and 90% will enter off the East Main Street entrance. But 13,000 cars anywhere is enough to hurt the level of service. “I was amazed when told of the access road,” said Cheryl Fontenot, President of the local PTO. “Anyone who lives in the area or drives their student to and from school can tell you the traffic problems are a nightmare…There have been 45 accidents at the traffic light at Wal-Mart’s current East Main Street location in the past 15 months. That’s nearly one per week on a four lane road. And they want to put an entrance off an already busy two land road?” she told the Herald-Journal newspaper. Spartanburg already has one more Wal-Mart than it needs, and South Carolina already has 17 empty Wal-Marts on the market, making it the 8th. highest state in the nation for dead Wal-Marts. Spartanburg may soon have another shell on East Mai that taxpayers could someday have to recycle.
The Church has gotten involved in fighting Wal-Mart in Spartanburg. The Anglican Parish Abbey of St. Francis is opposed to the superstore. For more information about this battle, or to offer your help, contact The Right Reverend Kenn Duley, 601 Webber Road, Spartanburg,SC 29307. Email him at [email protected]