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2004-04-24
Arvada, CO. Residents Manage To Push Wal-Mart Off Their Lake.

Can you imagine Wal-Mart wanting to build a truck turn-around by paving over a lake? They tried it in Arvada, Colorado, but so far, without much success. Here's an update to our 11/17/2003 Newsflash from activists in Arvada: "In the early fall of 2003, the City of Arvada, Colorado proceeded to serve eminent domain papers on the owners of a small lake claiming the lake was blighted for the purpose of draining the lake, filling it in, paving it over, and making it a truck turn-around for a proposed super Wal-Mart store. Angry residents united and started petition drives to prevent the city from draining the lake. Thus, Arvada's "Save Our Lake" committee was formed. We had gathered over 1,000 signatures that supported our position and requested the city not to take the lake. We held meetings once a week to plan our rallies, attend City Council and City Planning meetings.Some of the preparation work that needed to be done before construction of the Wal-Mart store was emptying out the east end of the Arvada Marketplace Shopping Plaza. Some of the stores had already been vacated. Some of the stores moved out of the city altogether while a few moved to other locations within the city. Two were relocated to the west end of the Plaza. The owners of the lake decided to fight and sued to have the eminent domain rescinded along with the blight designation. The Jefferson County (Colorado) Court ruled that the city could take immediate possession. The owners' lawyer asked for a stay of execution so that they could appeal. The court gave them a one week. The lawyer rushed the appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court which then gave an indefinite stay until a review was made. While this was going on in courts, the Save Our Lake Committee was organizing opposition to every process needed to get the remaining tenants out of the east end. We objected to the public hearing notices. According to information downloaded off the city's web site, instructions stated that postings had to be on all areas adjacent to streets, which was not done. City Staff said that since the property was developed the signs only had to be on the area being developed. The sign postings were in regard to the "Office Deport expansion," but it was in fact not an expansion but a totally moving into a different area and downsizing at the same time. Our concerns were brushed aside and the building is still continuing. In March of 2004 the Colorado Supreme reversed the lower court's ruling and gave the lake back to the original owners, stating that the blight study is outdated. The original blight study was done in 1981. The court also said that when the owners purchased the lake it had been done under the auspices of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority and subsequently was cleared of the original blight. Therefore the Authority would have to do a new blight study to re-condemn the lake. We were also told that in March the contract with Wal-Mart and the developer had expired and no new contract was in the works. Fight over -- not quite. On April 16, 2004, we learned that the owners of Arvada Marketplace was sold to a group called Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, Inc. A search of the web found that, according to the information posted on their web site, "Inland is, in fact, Wal-Mart's largest private landlord in the country." So now we are back at square one again and will have to see who they will try to bring in to occupy the entire east end of a vacant Arvada Marketplace. They do mention that they have also worked with other retail businesses such as Circuit City, Kmart, Borders Books and Safeway to name a few. But we will be sitting in on every council meeting and every planning committee meeting for the next few months waiting and listening."

What you can do: Maybe the Arvada Wal-Mart could be built on pontoons, so it could float in the lake. Or, maybe Wal-Mart Realty is just all wet. For more information on Lake Wal-Mart in Arvada, contact: Tom Wambolt, Save Our Lake committee, Arvada, CO . 303-421-5668. twambolt@denver.net










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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