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2004-09-15
Denver, CO. Wal-Mart Pulls Out of Elitch Gardens Plan

Residents on the north side of Denver, Colorado were thrilled to hear the news this week that Wal-Mart is shutting down plans to build a "Neighborhood" Market in the former Elitch Gardens site. The retailer apparently decided not to renaew its option to purchase land there. The plan had drawn fierce opposition from local residents, as reported last May on Newsflash. Residents said the store was totally incompatible with the area's plans for development, and its existing architecture. The proposal was for a 39,000 s.f. grocery store, the first of its kind in Colorado. Wal-Mart tried to claim that their proposal would blend in with the architecture and character of the neighborhood, but local residents weren't buying. One resident was quoted in the Rocky Mountain News as saying, "Wal-Mart is not reading the lips of northwest Denver. If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. It's not about the design. It's the elephant in the room and that elephant is Wal-Mart. Over 6,000 people have signed a petition saying they don't want Wal-Mart here. We don't want it, no way, no where, no how." Residents said the developer had promised to bring a smaller store to the site of the former Elitch Gardens amusement park, something in keeping with the New Urbanism style of development. The developer responded by saying that a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, almost the size of a football field, "To me, this is not a big box." Keith Morris, a Wal-Mart spokesman, added, "I know people are envisioning a standard grocery store that is a one-dimensional rectangular box, but this will be the polar opposite of that." Wal-Mart gave no reason for pulling out of Elitch Gardens, blaming market forces for the decision.

What you can do: One more community slam dunks a Wal-Mart proposal. For an earlier account of the Elitch Gardens controversy, and a statement by the local group that killed this plan, search Newsflash by "Elitch." I guess Wal-Mart now considers unpleasant reaction by neighbors as a "market force." NOw we will never get to see what the "polar opposite" of a Wal-Mart box would have looked like.










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

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