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2005-09-26
Frisco, CO. “Mining” Home Depot Heading For Ballot

The residents of the former mining town of Frisco, Colorado think they're getting the shaft. Home Depot wants to build in their town, and has promised the community that the store will have a unique "mining theme". But opponents see that offer as only skin-deep, since the façade will not alter any of the impacts of the huge proposed store. The project is slated for a December 13th ballot question. The developer has promised that "Home Depot knew about the election when they got into this. Now we need to sit down and put a game plan together." A Home Depot game plan is not that complicated: it means spending between $250,000 and $500,000 on public relations and getting out the vote. They have already hired a PR firm to make Home Depot larger than life. The developer has asked the town for permission to conduct "independent surveys" on the 9.4 acres tract. "Getting information in these surveys will realistically take 45-60 days," the developer told the Summit Daily News. "But we're going to push for this." Home Depot will also pay for phone and mail voter surveys to turn people out on election day. The developer wants to do land surveys, delineate the wetlands, and impact studies on water quality. All these studies are needed before development anyway, so it is not an added expense to the applicant. "We're going to kick-off these surveys to educate ourselves as well as everyone else," the developer said. "We're willing to spend the money to get it done." According to the newspaper, Home Depot has offered the town a series of "public amenities" to make its proposal more attractive, such as a $150,000 contribution to affordable housing, building a playground, extending a public trail system, and recycling facilities. The developer, as usual, has told the town they will be getting a "one-of-a-kind building design" that will feature a "mining theme." The developer says his design will "mitigate the mass", which means "try to make the building look smaller than it really is." The developer has promised to get away from the "monolithic" look of the typical Home Depot. He says he had to force Home Depot to depart from their "standard prototype". "We literally forced this building on them," he told the Daily News. "And we did it outside the corporate scheme." Now they are offering a huge Home Depot that will have some "Main Street" architectural features, "since it's the first thing you'll see when you come into the town." Plans call for a "four-sided thematic-schemed architecture, recessed walls, and an overall breaking-up of the 'big box' look." The proponents have also misled the town by claiming the Home Depot will bring in $1.1 million in new revenues in year one, $16 million over ten years, and $39 million over 20 years. None of these figures calculates into the equation the loss of revenues that will come from existing businesses in the trade area. Home Depot gets most of its sales transferred from existing hardware stores, paint stores, appliance stores, garden centers, installers, etc. It is not a form of economic development, but a very efficient form of economic displacement. Home Depot will get the mine, the residents will get the shaft.

What you can do: The voters in Frisco are beginning to see a three month PR blitz that will involve a major expenditure of funds for direct mailings, telephone surveys, studies, display ads, radio ads, etc, while opponents will be holding bake sales and car washes to raise a few pennies to fight this Home Depot juggernaut. Because corporations can spend as much money as they want on image advertising, local citizens groups have to just warn voters to buckle their seatbelts and hold on for the massive disinformation machine that is rolling down Interstate 70 heading for Frisco.










 
 
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