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2002-07-05
Kalispell, MT. Residents want to "Freeze Glacier Mall".

It takes a lot of nerve to name a mall after a Glacier, but that's just what one developer in Kalispell, Montana has done. And local officials in Kalispell seem willing to move heaven and earth to let Glacier Mall through. Only one thing stands in the way of the Glacier: the residents of Kalispell. An effort is growing to "Freeze the Glacier" and stop sprawl in its tracks. Here's a report filed by Elys Dalton Clay: "Disney's Main Street facade has nothing on Kalispell. It IS the most beautiful small town I have ever seen. From the restored downtown shops to the beautiful historic homes- It is absolutely amazing. Now Kalispell has a problem. A developer by the name of 'Bucky' Wolford has decided to build a $100 million, 735,000-square-foot regional mall. Just outside city limits. He wants the city to change its long term plan to annex that land for the mall. Bucky is an old hand at major mall development. 'Bucky' wants to build the mall directly on top of the 100 year flood plain aquifer that feeds a lake so pristine that scientists come here from all over the world to study it as one of the last of its kind. This is the only place I have ever been where you can drink directly from streams and tributaries while hiking. Flathead Lake is one of the 300 largest natural lakes in the world and is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Of those large lakes, Flathead is one of the cleanest. At 247 acres, the proposed development would be: The largest shopping mall in Montana; twice the size of any existing shopping center in Montana; four times the size of downtown heart of Kalispell; larger than the downtown cores of Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Whitefish, combined; nearly seven times bigger than Kalispell's Woodland Park. This misnamed "Glacier Mall" would be four times larger than Kalispell Center Mall, six times larger than Home Depot, currently the largest retail store in Flathead County. The new development would produce an estimated 300,000 gallons of raw sewage every day, and require 2,500 parking spaces surrounding the mega mall: 2,500. Toxins potentially found in parking lot runoff: arsenic, lead, cyanide, mercury. The EPA has found 41 toxins in parking lot runoff: 41. Once toxins enter the Evergreen groundwater, they would be swept toward wells, Flathead River and Flathead Lake at a speed of 10 feet per minute. There are some 166 wells immediately downstream from the proposed mega mall. Shallow river aquifers, like that of the Flathead River, are some of the most endangered landscapes on Earth. There is outrage amongst the citizens of Kalispell at the proposed mall. Hundreds protested at city hall last week over this issue. They have worked hard and spent millions to renovate the downtown area -- and even 'Bucky' himself said that the new mall would 'cannibalize' Kalispell's downtown. Yet on July 1st the city council agreed to change the Master Plan to suit the mall."

What you can do: For more information on efforts to "Freeze Glacier Mall", contact Elys Dalton Clay at elys@amaruca.com










 
 
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