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2000-11-19
Somerville, MA. IKEA, 2nd. Home Depot Opposed

IKEA, the Swedish build-it-from-a-box furniture retailer, has had trouble assembling public support for its 265,000 s.f. store in the City Park neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York (see newsflash 3/5/00 and 6/3/00 below). Now the "IKEA is a bad idea" movement has spread to Somerville, MA. A group called the Mystic View Task Force is not only fighting an IKEA and Home Depot at Assemble Square, where Ford used to build cars, but Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay's proposal to create an "Interim Planning District" to house all these big boxes. Somervillians instead have put forward a plan for mixed use development as an alternative to big boxes. "Big box retail would do little more than break even" says the MVTF. A mixed use development with upscale offices "would give Somerville five times as much city tax revenue," the residents argue, "and five times as many permanent jobs as big box development. It would allow the riverfront to be used exclusively for parkland, recreation, art, culture and a ferry landing. The location in Somerville that Home Depot and IKEA wants is better suited for office space, MVTF explains, because the land is 10 minutes from Boston's financial district, located on 3 commuter rail lines, and centered in the world's greatest concentration of colleges. "Have you ever seen a high quality office development next to a Home Depot?" the group asks. "There are good reasons for that. Developers tell us that these two types of uses are incompatible. At Assembly Square, they are impossible, because the big boxes proposed there, plus existing uses, would generate 55,000 car trips per day." The MVTF is urging area residents to attend a public hearing at City Hall on November 29th. to send the message to the Mayor: "No big boxes. Give Somerville a future." After all, Somerville already has a Home Depot at Assembly Square, and one such box is one more than enough for Somerville.

What you can do: IKEA opened its first store in 1958, and its first store in the U.S. in 1985. They now have more than 140 IKEA stores in 29 countries, and had sales last year of $7 billion. Their corporate mantra is "we want the environment to be even more beautiful tomorrow than it is today." To do this, they build big boxes six times the size of a football field. IKEA says it is trying to 'contribute to a more efficient and equitable use of nature's resources." But to residents in Somerville and New Rochelle, the environment would be more beautiful tomorrow if IKEA would climb back inside its box and go back to Sweden today. To find out more about the Somerville effort to stop another Home Depot and IKEA, see the MVTF website at http://www.the-ville.com/mysticview/index.htm. For more info about the Westchester Residents Against IKEA Now (WRAIN), contact info@sprawl-busters.com. And if anyone thinks they are being environmentally correct by shopping at IKEA, just look at what the company is doing to the local environment they choose to locate in.










 
 
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