Pittsfield, MA. Local residents have no clue how to stop Wal-Mart
An eastern Massachusetts developer has locals in the Western Mass city of Pittsfield eating out of his hand.
Local opponents of the enormous 196,000 s.f. megastore are disorganized, and city officials are sipping the Kool Aid.
Waterstone Retail, and its public relations group in Boston, has been working behind the scenes for months, lining up a front group, the “Tyler Street Business Group,” which thinks a huge Wal-Mart on the former site of a contaminated General Electric factory, is an economic boost to the city.
But one city councilor recently asked the city to have an independent economic impact study done, because there are 25 years of bad history across America which demonstrate that more jobs can be lost than gained when Wal-Mart comes to town.
One former city councilor thinks if he can get Wal-Mart to change its design, the project is fine. "The proposed Wal-Mart at the William Stanley Business Park is not a yes or no debate," the former city councilor wrote in a letter to the editor of the Berkshire Eagle. "It's about design. And the design that was presented last summer is wrong for Morningside."
The former public official wants a more urban design, not the typical sprawling superstore surrounded by a huge asphalt parking lot.
The Berkshire Eagle notes that some residents “believe that a Wal-Mart Supercenter should not be allowed in the business park, which was designed for economic development,” and “some are also concerned a national retailer would drive out smaller, locally owned businesses in that area. “
This same developer has tried to push a Wal-Mart two times before. They are hoping that the third time is a charm.
What you can do: To see how ineffectual citizen opposition can be:
You can also search this Newflash database by "Pittsfield" to see earlier stories on this land use battle.