Cottage Grove, MN. City Donates $650,000 To Get Wal-Mart Store
Cottage Grove, Minnesota is a city of roughly 35,000 people and 5 Wal-Marts within 15 miles, including two superstores.
The motto of the city is: "Where Pride and Prosperity Meet." It's also where lots of Wal-Marts meet. There is a Wal-Mart 6 miles away in Inver Grove Heights, and 8 miles away in Hastings. But like many small communities, Cottage Grove wanted a Wal-Mart to call its own. They were even willing to pay for one at taxpayers expense.
The Cottage Grove City Council recently voted unanimously to approve a nearly $3 million development agreement to use tax dollars to attract a Wal-Mart SuperCenter to the city, to take sales away from the Inver Grove Heights.
According to Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey, the city's taxpayers will donate $650,000 to Wal-Mart for streets, sanitation and water. The huge, 180,000 s.f. store will be located on the site of the former Cottage View Drive-In movie theater, which closed about three months ago. Although the Wal-Mart superstore has absolutely no olde-time charm or nostalgic appeal, it is part of a project called the "Shoppes at Cottage View."
Drive-in owner Gerry Herringer realized he could make millions from the sale of his land to Wal-Mart -- far more than showing outdoor movies in the summer. So he sold his land to the giant retailer. The neighbors, unfortunately, were not as excited as Herringer, and complained about their unobstructed views of the superstore.
But Mayor Bailey assured them that their view of the store would be blocked by berms. And according to the Pioneer Press, the city council "hopes" to address concerns about the thousands of new car trips that will fill up East Point Douglas Road and Innovation Road. They have roughly one year to figure it out.
By April of 2013, the city will begin building sewers and roads for the Walton family, who obviously didn't have the funds to complete the infrastructure work on their own, and turned to taxpayers for a bailout. By January of 2014, the residents of Cottage Grove will have 6 Wal-Marts within a short drive to choose from.
What you can do: Readers are urged to send an email to Mayor Myron Bailey by going to : http://www.cottage-grove.org/city-government/mayor-a-council/contact-the-council/14-myron-bailey and leaving the following message:
"Dear Mayor Bailey,
Every little town deserves its own Wal-Mart, wouldn't you agree? There's no need for the good people of Cottage Grove to have to shop at an Inver Grove Heights Wal-Mart less than 10 minutes away.
It was masterful of you to promise neighbors you could hide a Wal-Mart four times the size of a football field with "berms." You'd better build them high, Mayor, or the light and noise will spill over and make your neighbors unhappy. What you're going to do with the thousands of new car trips daily is anybody's guess. Maybe you can berm the roadways too.
But at least you understood that the Walton family just didn't have enough cash on hand to pull the project off without support from Cottage Grove taxpayers. A little corporate welfare isn't such bad a thing. Those tax dollars could have been used for schools, or public safety purposes -- but why not give it to Wal-Mart? And did you tally up the added cost to your little police department -- or is that part of the subsidy too?
These bagger and check out clerk jobs are just the thing for a struggling local economy. This could be the economic shot in the arm that Cottage Grove needs. You may not get much pride or prosperity out of this project, but you have the continuing thanks from the Walton billionaires for your generous contribution to their struggling project.