Sprawl-Busters Newsflash Blog - Anti-Sprawl news since 1998.
Subscribe to Sprawl-Busters Blog Follow Sprawl Busters on Twitter
Occupy Walmart & Order Al's Books Movies Newsflash! The Case Against Sprawl Home Towns Not Home Depot Victories Your Battles About Us Contact Us  

recent news

List articles
by the month:

2018
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2017
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2016
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2015
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2014
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2013
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2012
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2011
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2010
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2009
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2008
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2007
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2006
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2005
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2004
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2003
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2002
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2001
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2000
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1999
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1998
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC


Search database by text:

2010-02-07
Johnsburg, IL. Town’s Wal-Mart Will Steal Benefits From Neighboring Town

On April 1, 2009, Sprawl-Busters reported that Wal-Mart was playing the community of Johnsburg, Illinois off of McHenry, Illinois. According to the Northwest Herald, Wal-Mart wants to build a new superstore that would be only one mile away from their existing discount store in McHenry. The financial implications for McHenry could be dramatic. Wal-Mart said last spring that it planned on building a supercenter on Route 31 and Running Brook Farm Boulevard. The proposed site is almost within site of the existing Wal-Mart discount store in McHenry. Wal-Mart said they would shut down the McHenry store to "consolidate operations" at the new 182,000 s.f. superstore in Johnsburg, which they originally hoped would be open for business by the summer of 2010. "This is a relocation of the store in McHenry," a Wal-Mart spokesman told the Northwest Herald. "The associates at the [McHenry] store will work at the new store." By Wal-Mart's calculations, the new store will add to the 200 existing jobs in McHenry by adding 180 new jobs at the Johnsburg superstore, for a total of 380 jobs. But this does not count the loss of jobs in neighboring grocery stores, which will bring the net total of job creation to little or nothing. The existing McHenry store is 116,000 s.f., so the expansion is roughly 66,000 s.f. to add the grocery component. "We need a larger footprint for the Wal-Mart concept store of today," the Wal-Mart spokesman said. Johnsburg village trustees, who are in essence stealing their neighbor's revenues, told the newspaper that they have been in discussions with Wal-Mart regarding the move for the past year and a half. Trustee John Huemann said last spring that the retailer had submitted "preliminary plans" to the village for review. "It speaks to the entire corridor," Huemann said, "obviously Wal-Mart is a very important part to the success of the corridor, but that corridor has been planned for more than 15 years. It's a real testimony to the forethought of all the people who have been heavily involved in the process." It appears officials in Johnsburg had managed to keep their year and a half romance with Wal-Mart a secret from the retailer's host town in McHenry. McHenry's Mayor Susan Low must have been embarrassed to learn about the Johnsburg switch while she was shopping at the McHenry Wal-Mart. Reached by cell phone by the newspaper, she admitted, "I haven't talked to anyone," she said. "It's news to me." Johnsburg Trustees tried to put the best face on their sudden announcement to their neighbors. "We have worked in unison with the city of McHenry, and have been pretty good partners with each other," one Johnsburg Trustee told the Herald. "The corridor is a benefit to both communities." But the March, 2009 announcement was the beginning of the end of the unison in McHenry County, as McHenry started to calculate the lost revenues from its stolen store. The Johnsburg/McHenry retail merry-go-round, is another classic example of what happens in the absence of regional land use planning. This week, ten months after our last report, Wal-Mart still is not finished with the permitting process. The Herald reports that Wal-Mart does not expect to have the permitting process done until this summer, and construction work on the new store is delayed until the Fall. Wal-Mart also doesn't own the land yet. The retailer's lawyer told the newspaper, "There are permitting issues like there are with every development. They expect to start construction in 2010." But first the company must wait for the state of Illinois Department of Transportation to widen Route 31. Many local residents would be happy if that roadwork never happens.

What you can do: Wal-Mart continues to claim that this new superstore one mile from its 'old' discount store will create 180 new jobs. This is a gross figure -- and does not count the grocery jobs that will be lost at other retailers. The voodoo economics of this project don't' seem to bother Johnsburg Trustee Bruce Bennett. "I've even had neighbors bugging me about it," Bennett told The Herald. "'Hey, when is that getting started?'" Not only is there no need for another superstore in the area, but Wal-Mart could reconfigure its existing 116,000 s.f. store in McHenry to be a superstore. Wal-Mart has built supserstores as small as 99,000 s.f., so the move to Johnsburg is one of convenience for the company, but very disrupting to McHenry, and totally wasteful of land. Wal-Mart operates five stores in McHenry County, along with one Sam's Club outlet, and a sixth location has opened in Huntley, Illinois. On the village's website, Johnsburg announced that the "permitting process was well under way." "We are thrilled that this very complicated and involved process continues to move forward," said then Village President David Dominguez. "The end result will be a wonderful new Wal-Mart that will not only enhance our community, but provide approximately 180 new jobs and expand our non-residential tax base." "Our Wal-Mart team of real estate brokers, engineers, lawyers, environmental consultants and architects have been diligently working to make the opening a Johnsburg Supercenter a reality in 2010," said Wal-Mart's spokesman. Wal-Mart said their new store "will reflect the appealing new Wal-Mart construction prototype." Readers are urged to email Village President Edwin Hettermann at http://www.johnsburg.org/?q=contact_the_village with the following message: "Dear President Hettermann, You surely realize that the Johnsburg Wal-Mart project is just stealing sales from the McHenry store # 1377, which will shut down. At this point, it's just a number to Wal-Mart. That's all it amounts to. But the proposed superstore is a totally unnecessary waste of land, since Wal-Mart's store in McHenry is large enough to reformat into a superstore, without building a new one. McHenry will struggle to fill the old store, and it could sit on the market for years, especially in this environment. But perhaps the worst thing Johnsburg did was to keep its own citizens in the dark for a year and a half, while you met behind closed doors with Wal-Mart. Your village only has around 6,647 people (2007 census), and it would have been easy to let them know what you were negotiating. But you put Wal-Mart's needs before those of your residents, or your neighboring community. This project brings no added value to the local trade area, since most of its sales will come from the existing store in McHenry, and most new grocery sales will come from existing grocers in the immediate area -- one or two of which can be expected to close. You have been operating in the dark for a long time now. It's time to let the residents of McHenry and Johnsburg talk openly about this project, and overcome the strong feeling you have created that this retailer has been given a done deal. Regional land use planning is a great thing. Johnsburg might want to try it sometime. For now, you will have to find a way to rationalize the stealing of revenue from McHenry, until the day McHenry finds another anchor store to try to steal the sales taxes back. Many of your residents are just hoping that IDOT will take their time in getting around to widening Route 31. In the meantime, you should ask Wal-Mart why they can't reformat their existing McHenry store."










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

info@sprawl-busters.com
Strategic Planning ~ Field Operations
Voter Campaigns 
21 Grinnell St, Greenfield ~ MA 01301
(413) 772-6289