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2002-01-02
Reedley, CA. Wal-Mart Pulls Out of City

The Citizens for Preserving Reedley (CPR) got some good news this week, when Wal-Mart announced its proposed store near the Kings River at the gateway into the city was Code Blue. This project has deeply divided this community of roughly 21,000 people, and was headed towards to citywide referendum vote in March (see 9/11/01 and 11/3/01 newsflash). A Wal-Mart official told the Fresno Bee: "It was strictly a business decision based on the costs incurred to meet the city's demands." Wal-Mart claimed the city's demand would have cost them $1 million. But the chairman of the city's Planning Commission suggested it was more than money that knocked the wind out of Wal-Mart. "They must have sensed defeat, otherwise they wouldn't have [pulled out]." The store was slated to start off at 103,000 s.f., but be expandable into a superstore at 187,000 s.f. The City Council was rendered inert on the subject when 3 out of 5 members indicated they owned land near the site, and had to recuse themselves from all deliberations on the matter. The Council decided to hand the matter over to the voters of Reedley. Although Wal-Mart told local officials that their store would generate a couple of hundred thousand dollars in sales taxes, CPR said the store was located in an undesirable place, that it would largely displace sales from existing merchants, and would snarl traffic. The chair of the Reedley Downtown Assocation told the Fresno Bee: "In my mind, we need retail. We do not need something as large as Wal-Mart saying we have to be at this spot or nowhere."

What you can do: This ballot election will apparently still go on as scheduled by the City Council for March. CPR still believes that any large scale big box project is incompatible with the small town atmosphere of Reedley, and inappropriate for the site off Kings River. CPR has vowed to continue organizing to defeat the project at the polls, even if Wal-Mart has stopped breathing. CPR certainly won't try to resuscitate it. For contact people at CPR, email info@sprawl-busters.com.










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

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