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2014-11-02
Frederick, MD. Third Wal-Mart Comes With A Wild Flower Garden

Never let it be said that the Wal-Mart corporate empire is unfriendly to the environment. To show its "green" nature, Wal-Mart has promised the 67,000 people of Frederick, Maryland that with the addition of their 3rd Wal-Mart store (and 5 within 20 miles), the giant retailer is going to give the city a wild flower garden as an amenity.

On October 13th, the city of Frederick Planning Commission approved the site plan for "Frederick Towne Center," which has as its center a 155,000 s.f. Wal-Mart superstore, located on 40 acres near a Home Depot and other retail outlets. The Wal-Mart Towne Center will first have to bulldoze the existing Frederick Towne Mall, which also sports the old-fashioned spelling of "Towne" to represent a non-existent historical aspect to these big box buildings.

A group of local residents fought the project, but city officials imposed a series of minor design changes on the developer, appropriately named Rockwood Capital. A few days before the final Planning Commission vote, local residents complained about the process:

"We came together and fought the good fight for something better in our community, but unfortunately city allowed a zoning change that has paved the way for a third Wal-Mart without even contributing to the community. As they submit their final site plan to the city planning commission, several important factors have been overlooked in the process. The property owners have not made presentations to the Neighborhood Advisory Councils with a formalized final site plan and the only bright spot of their entire plan, a community center for local groups to use, has been removed from the plan entirely. The community center was part of the conditional rezoning the city proposed, but wasn't able to uphold once they finalized the agreement. Adding to this, the additional retail spaces they were supposed to create have been reduced in size as well as the garden space they presented as part of the plan. So essentially we will have a few trees, a couple more shops, and a supercenter. Our worst fears have been realized. The promises have been broken before they even begin construction. Worst of all the community will suffer thanks to this happening."

Anti-Wal-Mart residents urged their neighbors to attend the final Commission hearing, "and tell them this should not be approved because it no longer complies with the Golden Mile Small Area Plan for revitalization. Ask the tough questions about why they are breaking their promises by not providing the community center, extra garden space, and the additional shops to offset Wal-Mart."

Residents testified that a city of their size did not need another Wal-Mart, as it has two already, and two former alderwomen expressed their disappointed that the plan did not include a community center for nonprofit use.

Wal-Mart gave the city a walking path along the back of the Home Depot, so residents could watch the retailer unload its trucks, plus a "mixed-use path" and a bridge leading to the neighborhood behind the development.

The city originally proposed a "butterfly garden," because butterflies don't seem to care one way or another about big box stores, but instead of the butterflies, the developer swapped that idea for a wildflower garden that the Frederick News Post said "would have educational placards..that would identify flora and fauna."

There will also be "public art" painted on the backside of the Home Depot, which means a mural. The "art" will probably make people forget they are looking at the rear end of a windowless big box store.

The Mayor of Frederick and its Board of Aldermen rezoned the land 16 months ago. They changed it from mixed use, which would have allowed residential, offices, and smaller commercial uses, to purely general commercial, which fostered a 155,000 s.f.Wal-Mart.
Readers are urged to email Mayor Randy McClement of Frederick at: https://www.cityoffrederick.com/FormCenter/Ask-a-Question-5-5/Ask-your-Mayor-38-38
With the following comment:
"Dear Mayor McClement,
As the former owner of a small food business in Frederick for more than a decade, you know that three Wal-Marts will kill off most small businesses in your city, including small bagel stores like the one you used to own.
But you've really hit on a great idea by adding a wildflower garden to the Wal-Mart. Just think of all the wildflowers we'd have in America today if you'd have come up with this idea sooner! More than 4,000 wildflower gardens!
If Wal-Mart comes back soon with plans for a 4th store, I would encourage you to really push hard for a butterfly garden, to make Frederick a stop over for butterflies. I don't think you can attract the Monarchs with another Wal-Mart, but go for it anyway. There are lots of other butterflies that might like what your Maryland community has to offer.

And the idea of painting a mural on the back of Home Depot is brilliant. Maybe you could have a contest for what kind of Home Depot product to display on the mural: power saws, nail guns---whatever. Maybe they would consider painting a bagel on the mural in honor of the Mayor who couldn't say No to any big box."

What you can do: The Mayor of Frederick and its Board of Aldermen rezoned the land 16 months ago. They changed it from mixed use, which would have allowed residential, offices, and smaller commercial uses, to purely general commercial, which fostered a 155,000 s.f.Wal-Mart.

Readers are urged to email Mayor Randy McClement of Frederick at: https://www.cityoffrederick.com/FormCenter/Ask-a-Question-5-5/Ask-your-Mayor-38-38
with the following comment:

"Dear Mayor McClement,

As the former owner of a small food business in Frederick for more than a decade, you know that three Wal-Marts will kill off most small businesses in your city, including small bagel stores like the one you used to own.

But you've really hit on a great idea by adding a wildflower garden to the Wal-Mart. Just think of all the wildflowers we'd have in America today if you'd have come up with this idea sooner! More than 4,000 wildflower gardens!

If Wal-Mart comes back soon with plans for a 4th store, I would encourage you to really push hard for a butterfly garden, to make Frederick a stop over for butterflies. I don't think you can attract the Monarchs with another Wal-Mart, but go for it anyway. There are lots of other butterflies that might like what your Maryland community has to offer.

And the idea of painting a mural on the back of Home Depot is brilliant. Maybe you could have a contest for what kind of Home Depot product to display on the mural: power saws, nail guns---whatever. Maybe they would consider painting a bagel on the mural in honor of the Mayor who couldn't say No to any big box."










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

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