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2004-09-11
Middletown, DE. Wal-Mart To Try A Second Time To Get Approval.

If at first you don't succeed -- try the other side of town. Residents in Middletown, Deleware beat off a Wal-Mart store two years ago on the east side of town, but now the retailer is back to try a second time at another site, and local officials are falling over themselves to say Yes this time around -- even offering welfare to Wal-Mart. The first site Wal-Mart chose just happened to have a 50,000 s.f. building size restriction on it, and the town was not willing to lift that cap. But now, according to the Middletown News Journal, Wal-Mart wants to construct a 203,000 s.f. supercenter, and Mayor Ken Branner, Jr. claims "it's going to create new jobs and more businesses." Wal-Mart, as usual, says it will do a prevailing wage study to see what to pay its workers, but a spokesperson told the News Journal that the average wage in the company's stores is $9.65. Wal-Mart has eight stores and a distribution center in Delaware. The Middletown Town Manager even went so far as to tell the newspaper how quickly the store could be build if all the needed approvals were obtained. Some merchants in Middletown seem to understand what they are facing. The newspaper quotes an electronics store owner who said, "{Wal-Mart) sells them cheaper than I can buy them wholesale. Wal-Mart kills small merchants. They absolutely cannot compete." The article quoted Sprawl-Buster Al Norman as saying that grocery stores may be especially vulnerable. Everyone apparently is worried about traffic impacts from the new store, but Mayor Branner noted that taxpayers are subsidizing this project with a $15 million upgrade for several streets near the proposed shopping center.

What you can do: For a company that made $9 billion in profits last year, Wal-Mart is fortunate that local officials still don't think the company should have to pay its own way, and provide corporate welfare to build roads. To see an earlier related story, search this database by Middletown.










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

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