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2015-05-11
Hope Mills, NC. Wal-Mart Has To Move The Dead For New Store

Residents in the small community of Hope Mills, North Carolina have been fighting Wal-Mart for at least 9 months. This week, they “dug up” some odd news about what it takes to build a Wal-Mart store in their town. People will be literally turning over in their graves.

Last August 14th, Sprawl-Busters reported that the Town Manager in the community of Hope Mills, North Carolina was sending back some gifts from Wal-Mart, which happened to arrive in the middle of the giant retailer's effort to gain town approval for one of their stores. The "gifts" apparently looked too much like "bribes" to some people in town.

The story broke in the Fay Observer, which reported that Town Manager John Ellis had bundled up a donation of recreation equipment from the local Wal-Mart after concerns were raised about the propriety of accepting the equipment in the middle of a Wal-Mart campaign to build a new store in town.

Wal-Mart came bearing other trinkets for Hope Mills. The town had applied for a $2,500 grant for playground equipment from the Wal-Mart Foundation, Town Commissioners several days ago accepted a third "gift" from Wal-Mart: a $1,000 grant for the town to buy 3 protective police vests for the Hope Mills Police Department. Wal-Mart said there were no hard feelings about getting their gifts returned.

This week the news broke that the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners have to decide whether or not to relocate a family plot of burial graves at the site of the proposed Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. According to the Fay Observor, the graves, some with headstones, are in a wooded area behind the home of one of the residents whose property is up for sale.

"I'm not sure who's in the graves, and I don't know how many graves there are," a town official told the newspaper. "I know it's a family plot."

The homeowners who want to sell their property apparently feel their neighborhood is no longer suitable for residential use because it’s been overrun with retail sprawl. Might at well go whole hog and let Wal-Mart have it. The land Wal-Mart wanted was not zoned commercial---but that is nothing to stop Wal-Mart. The retailer pushed for a rezoning, and after what the newspaper calls “a long battle,” the land was rezoned to commercial. Last March the site plan was approved.

People opposed to the Wal-Mart say the project, which would include out-parcels and gasoline pumps, would change the character of the area and result in increased crime and traffic. Both sides packed public hearings on the proposal.

The town lawyer says the homeowner where the graves are located need to get approval from the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. The town does not have to approve the request---but you can imagine townsfolk want those cheap Chinese goods more than they do a few graves dating back to the early 1800s.

Mayor Jackie Warner, whose home is near the proposed Wal-Mart, and who is against the project, said the property owner might have to pay for the exhumation---but that’s a small price to pay to get Wal-Mart to buy up the homes of neighbors who just want to get out. "I don't know whether they have to dig them up or put a marker somewhere else," the Mayor told the Fay Observor. "I'm not familiar enough with it."
Readers are urged to email Town Manager John Ellis at jwellis@townofhopemills.com with the following message:

"Dear Manager Ellis,

Now that the town has rezoned residential land for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, and approved a site plan for a large commercial store in a residential area, there’s just one more glitch to approve: digging up a few souls that have remained ummolested in their graves for more than two hundred years.
One solution that would make everyone happy is to request that Wal-Mart use the exhumed bodies as “greeters” at their Neighborhood Market. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart doesn’t have “greeters” any more. But there must be some room for “stiffs” somewhere in the Wal-Mart .heirarchy.

What you can do: Readers are urged to email Town Manager John Ellis at jwellis@townofhopemills.com with the following message:

"Dear Manager Ellis,

Now that the town has rezoned residential land for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, and approved a site plan for a large commercial store in a residential area, there’s just one more glitch to approve: digging up a few souls that have remained unmolested in their graves for more than two hundred years.

One solution that would make everyone happy is to request that Wal-Mart use the exhumed bodies as “greeters” at their Neighborhood Market. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart doesn’t have “greeters” any more. But there must be some room for “stiffs” somewhere on Wal-Mart's management team.










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

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