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2006-12-16
Berlin, WI. Wal-Mart Plans to Wipe Out Mobile Home Park

The state of Wisconsin currently has nine dead Wal-Mart stores on the "available buildings" list, or a total of 772,376 square feet of dark stores. Residents in small town of Berlin, Wisconsin don't want to see their town added to the list. But Wal-Mart, not content with just having a discount store in Berlin, wants to abandon their discount store, and open up a superstore across the street. Here's the latest update Sprawl-Busters received from supercenter opponents: "Berlin, Wisconsin is located in the Northeast corner of Green Lake County and has a population of about 5,300. Berlin is intersected by the Fox River and by Highways 49 and 91. Berlin takes pride in its small town charm and historical homes and downtown district. The City of Berlin adapted its new Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan in 2003. The 20 year vision statement anticipates that Berlin will have protected and preserved the diversified downtown business district, the wetland and watershed areas along the river, the wooded and open areas, and the agricultural land and avoided urban sprawl wherever possible. Fifteen years ago Wal-Mart came to Berlin. It was the first and is still the only big box retail store in our community. A few months ago, we learned that Wal-Mart proposed to purchase a 25 acre property, which is directly across the street from its current location to build a new Super Wal-Mart. The property is a mobile home park, with 40+ homes and 80+ residents. The property was quickly rezoned from R-MH to B-2 and all residents were given eviction notices. They must vacate no later than May 1, 2007. There are no other mobile home parks in our community, so we will be losing many wonderful members of our schools, churches, and community. Our mayor is trying to rush everything. She is cutting corners to push the Wal-Mart deal through quickly. She has been begging the city residents to not get caught up in the national media hype against Wal-Mart. She assures us that our Wal-Mart is NOT like all the other Wal-Marts that are doing bad things. She says that our Wal-Mart has been a good neighbor. She says the new supercenter will bring new jobs and an increased tax base to our city and that is all that matters. The preliminary site plan has not been approved yet, however the planning commission will be meeting this week. If we can't stop the Super Wal-Mart, it will be the death of our downtown businesses and grocery stores."

Unfortunately, stores like Wal-Mart and other big boxes see mobile home parks as a vulnerable target. The constituents of a "trailer park" are often low-income, have very little political clout, and are considered by local officials are being a blight on the community. Such projects are often not seen as important affordable housing. As a result, when Wal-Mart proposes leveling a mobile home park, town officials rarely stop and think about the taxpayers they are displacing. To a great degree, this is a class issue, with the poor and elderly residents on mobile homes at the mercy of revenue-driven officials and developers. For other examples of big box stores decimating mobile homes, search Newsflash by "mobile homes" or "mobile park." For contacts in Berlin, email info@sprawl-busters.com

What you can do: Unfortunately, stores like Wal-Mart and other big boxes see mobile home parks as a vulnerable target. The constituents of a "trailer park" are often low-income, have very little political clout, and are considered by local officials as being a blight on the community. Such projects are often not seen as important affordable housing. As a result, when Wal-Mart proposes leveling a mobile home park, town officials rarely stop and think about the taxpayers they are displacing. To a great degree, this is a class issue, with the poor and elderly residents on mobile homes at the mercy of revenue-driven officials and developers. For other examples of big box stores decimating mobile homes, search Newsflash by "mobile homes" or "mobile park." For contacts in Berlin, email info@sprawl-busters.com










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

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