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1998-08-06
New Albany, IN. Three-time loser.

Wal-Mart is a 3 time loser in this small Indiana community. Last February, Wal-Mart approached the New Albany Plan Commission with a proposal to construct a 203,000 s.f. superstore just a shadow away from the Rolling Creek housing subdivision, and across the way from Floyd County's largest park area. Rejected in February, Wal-Mart came back armed with a traffic study and other site improvements that they thought surely would turn heads. But on July 21st, the Plan Commission voted 7-2 for a second time to turn down the plan. "This is the best site," pleaded Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris, reportedly saying that the land was the best for the market. Yet the local newspaper editorialized: "We are still unsure why Wal-Mart won't consider a more suitable location...Almost anyplace would be better than where they are proposing. Besides, there is already a Wal-Mart five miles away." That's right. Only 5 miles away in Clarksville sits an existing Wal-Mart. The company actually proposed to mollify the homeowners nearby by proposing a 15 foot high berm to block the store's view from residences. They also proposed moving the store 20 feet further away from the homes. But at the public hearing, citizens opposed to the store had their day. Even New Albany police officer Tim Wells got up and spoke against the store. He presented police records from nearby Clarksville that showed the cops there had responded 541 times to calls from the Wal-Mart from January, 1998 to July 18, 1998. One resident summed it up: "Let us all drive five miles to Clarksville" instead of building another Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart did not give up the ghost easily. The company tried to woo the Plan Commission with job and tax figures. Wal-Mart's attorney presented a list of 375 positive responses from a flier that Wal-Mart sent to residents-not in New Albany -- but surrounding the Clarksville store. And the manager of that Wal-Mart store admitted that "the home office" in Bentonville, AR sent up a petition for employees and shoppers supporting the new store to sign. So the campaign was being orchestrated from afar.These numbers shrunk next to an opinion poll that was conducted by the New Albany Tribune. According to the Tribune's poll, Wal-Mart was opposed by a vote of 555-162. Wal-Mart's third strike came on August 3rd, when the City Council voted 8-0 to reject Wal-Mart's plans. "David defeated Goliath," read the newspaper lead, "once again." Apparently Wal-Mart can not come back for reconsideration of this project for at least a year.

What you can do: For further information about Wal-Mart's shut-out in New Albany, IN, contact Terri Sanders, 703 Rolling Creek Drive, New Albany, IN 47150. Ask her for a copy of the police report that showed 541 trips to Wal-Mart in just a six month period.










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

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