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2004-11-11
Gainesville, GA. Residents Don't Want a Second Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Residents in Gainesville, Georgia want to prevent Wal-Mart from making any further gains in their community. Gainesville already has a Wal-Mart supercenter, but the company wants to saturate the town with another 184,000 s.f. supercenter. Here's a couple of reports from the frontlines of the battle: "We are currently trying to fight what will be the fourth Wal-Mart within a twenty mile radius in our town. We already have one in Gainesville, one in Dahlonega, and another being built in Oakwood. The newest proposed Wal-Mart site is only 3/4 of a mile from my house, less than one half acre building lot from a long time established neighborhood, and will back up to three other subdivisions in our town. We don't need it, we can't accomodate it, and it is time Wal-Mart backed off and let us keep our neighborhoods as quiet as they were meant to be. They will be forcing small businesses out of the area, causing congested roadways, increasing crime and decreasing property value for the entire area. We are hoping that all concerned citizens in the Gainesville area will participate in the meeting set for Nov. 15 at 5:15 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center and let Wal-Mart know they are NOT welcome in our community. We've had enough! FIGHT BACK AMERICA, OR LOSE THE AMERICAN DREAM!" According to another resident, Wal-Mart began this week a coordinated public relations effort to win over local support. "Wal-Mart held an Open House to introduce a proposed Super Center in Hall County on Tuesday, November 9," one resident wrote. "Wal-Mart representatives faced a crowd of several hundred opposed to the project. The Q & A session was mixed with statements of opposition and outright requests for Wal-Mart not to come to the area. Angry home owners requested information about the decrease in property taxes affected by the Super Store, and traffic was a top topic as the area roads do all they can now to service residential traffic - per the comments of the crowd. Wal-Mart cited their Traffic Study and the crowd did not respond positively to their case." According to the Gainesville Times, Wal-Mart ran into the "most aggressive opposition yet" in their plan to locate in northern Hall county." The paper said only 1 person testified in favor of the plan. "We know that communities like ours have defeated plans for a Wal-Mart supercenter all across the country," one resident told Wal-Mart. "Let's make this project No. 201." Wal-Mart repeated its "voodoo economic" claims that a superstore would bring in 475 new jobs and $2.8 million in revenues. Those figures are gross numbers, and do not account for the lost jobs and revenues that will occur elsewhere in the community. This controversial project could come before the Hall County Commission in early December. The Times interviewed one resident who saw Wal-Mart as a prime example of "unregulated growth." "Growth wise, we don't like where we're going at all," neighbor Ann Nixon said. "What we really need is for our elected officials to carefully look at our quality of life and not just look at the revenues people like Wal-Mart say they would generate," she said.

What you can do: It will be all pain, and no gain for Gainesville if Hall County officials continue to allow unrestricted retail growth to continue. Many people in these small Georgia towns realize that there is more to life than a cheap pair of underwear. Many homeowners did not invest in these small towns just to see big suburban sprawl wipe out what they value about their neighborhoods. No one in Gainesville has any problem finding the existing Wal-Mart. A second supercenter gives Wal-Mart more market share, but it bring no added value economically to the community. The new jobs Wal-Mart promises are just old jobs in new aprons. For local contacts in the fight against the Gainesville Wal-Mart, contact info@sprawl-busters.com. Georgia, by the way, has the second highest number of "dark stores" vacated by Wal-Mart. Texas is number one.










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

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