Maryville, TN. Wal-Mart Superstore Attracts $1 Million In Tax Subsidy
There are already two Wal-Mart supercenters within 5 miles of the small community of Maryville, Tennessee, which has a population of just over 28,000 people. Twelve miles away in Knoxville, there are 4 more Wal-Mart stores—of which three are superstores.
Yet public officials in Maryville are eager enough to have another, 190,000 s.f. Wal-Mart, they’re willing to pay more than a million dollars for it, courtesy of the city’s taxpayers. That’s a store almost the size of 4 football fields, with a parking lot that will hold nearly 800 cars.
The proposed superstore on East Lamar Alexander Parkway is still being negotiated between the Maryville City Council and the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust. According to the Daily Times newspaper, Wal-Mart will buy 28 acres of land—with the agreement that taxpayers will pay for “public infrastructure improvements…on or adjacent to” Wal-Mart’s property.
The city will be expected to build a connector road to the Wal-Mart site, extend a sewer line to the site, and install a traffic light. Wal-Mart will partially relocate 1,200 feet of roadway on the northern end of the site. “They will build a nice new road, with curbs, sidewalks and turn lanes,” the city manager told the newspaper.
And city taxpayers will subsidize up to $200,000 for the installation of a nice new traffic light. The city has also budgeted $500,000 for the nice, new connector road, and expects additional tax revenue will be needed beyond the current year’s budget to complete the work. Finally, the sewer line extension will cost the city another $300,000.
The city council has not finished reviewing the site plan, but one local official told the Daily Times, “The city is in general agreement with the design of the project.”
One commenter in the Daily Times summed up the situation:
“No thanks we've already got two. Is there a petition we can all sign to stop this???”
What you can do: Readers are urged to go the Maryville website at http://www.maryvillegov.com/city-managers-office.html and submit the following message to City Manager Greg McClain:
“Dear Manager McClain,
Maryville’s website brags that the city ‘has a small town atmosphere.’ It’s hard to understand how a huge Wal-Mart superstore contributes to that small town feel, and even harder to understand how the city can spend more than $1 million in public tax dollars to literally pave the way to a company that is the largest retailer in the world.
You say your downtown area continues to grow with its shops and restaurants—but you are cannibalizing local merchants by subsidizing chain stores that take your welfare gladly. Maryville is saturated with big box stores already--at least 7 Wal-Marts within a 13 mile drive.
Do you really believe Wal-Mart cannot afford to pay for its own sewer line to its store, or your road connectors? Your subsidy of Wal-Mart hurts other local stores that are not big enough to get their infrastructure paid for with public dollars.
The taxpayers of Maryville deserve better. No welfare for the billionaire Waltons. Let them pay their own way into your town, and let city tax dollars go to the extra police and fire costs this huge store will bring."