Like a Leech, Wal-Mart Returns to Greenfield

Wal-Mart wants to build a massive new store and parking lot, destroying open space in Greenfield. The town Planning Board will hold a meeting about Wal-Mart's scheme on May 5. “Please save the date, and encourage your friends to come and show their opposition to this environmentally and economically valueless plan,” said Greenfield resident Al Norman.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at 114 Main Street.

In Greenfield, Wal-Mart lost a vote by the people 18 years ago. The company wanted to build in town; it was rejected by a vote of the people.

The currently proposed Wal-Mart will come within 25 feet of a wetland. Wal-Mart now wants to erect a 135,000 square feet big box store in Greenfield. The plan includes a huge parking lot that is 90 percent larger than required.

The latest proposal is almost exactly the same as the Wal-Mart project that was rejected by the people of Greenfield in 1993.

Abutting neighbors remain opposed to a store of this scale, and have vowed to pursue their legal rights if the store is approved. The neighbors have asked that the store be cut in half. If the project was reduced in scale and put on two floors, it could possibly be acceptable, Norman said.

“The developer has submitted an incomplete economic impact plan that fails to address at all the potential for this store to close down other existing merchants in the area,” he said. The fiscal study author admits his report “focused on direct impacts related to the project, and does not address potential indirect or induced impacts elsewhere in the community or the region.”

The author of the new study also did the 1993 fiscal impact study, which concluded that a 134,272 square foot Wal-Mart would result in the loss of some $16 million from existing retailers, and result in the closure of more than 103,000 square feet of existing retail space, which would devastate downtown.

If other retailers close as anticipated, the net fiscal impact of the current project on the town would be negative. No sales tax is kept locally by municipalities in Massachusetts. It goes to the state for redistribution.

The Wal-Mart in Greenfield would be bigger than the Wal-Marts in Hadley and Northampton.

Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin has met with abutters, and heard their complaints about this project. Unlike his predecessor, Martin has said he's willing to consider keeping Wal-Mart out of Greenfield. “The former Mayor (Forgey) staked her political credibility on producing a big box store for Greenfield, even though the community already has a BJ’s Wholesale Club, several Dollar Stores, and a Home Depot. She was voted out of office,” Norman noted.

When the Greenfield Ames closed 12 years ago, Wal-Mart declined to locate in the Ames location, and Home Depot took the property instead. The 19 acre parcel now being considered for a new Wal-Mart is right across the street from the 61 acre parcel where Wal-Mart was defeated in 1993.

A spokesperson for a local non-profit group, Sustainable Greenfield, said:

"Please consider attending this meeting to show your concern for the outcome of this process. We would like to encourage you to write a letter-to-the-editor and submit it to The Recorder at: Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302 or email to: Letters@recorder.com

"Please voice your opinion and concerns directly to the mayor at: mayor@greenfield-ma.gov and the planning board members at:

Roxann Wedegartner (chair) (413) 774-5766 roxanndw6@yahoo.com

Linda Smith (413) 772-0675 lhsmith22@comcast.net

Mary Newton (413) 773-8500 marysnewton@yahoo.com

James Allen (413) 772-3195 jaseallen@netzero.com

Clayton Sibley (413) 773-3980 c.sib@verizon.net

Joshua Parker (413) 773-9859 joshuadavidparker@gmail.com

More information is at:

www.TownOfGreenfield.org

www.sprawl-busters.com

www.SustainableGreenfield.com

www.WakeUpWalMart.com

www.WalMartWatch.com

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A version of this article was published on 8/11/2010.

Comments

WALMART IN GREENFIELD

AN OVERGROWN WEED PATCH WITH SAND PILES, LITTER AND BROKEN DOWN MACHINERY COUPLED WITH SATURATED DIESEL OIL SOAKED EARTH LEFT OVER FROM MACKIN'S OIL OPERATION IS BEING REPLACED BY A BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPED STATE OF THE ART RETAIL OPERATION WHICH WILL PROVIDE SORELY NEEDED JOBS IN THE AREA IS WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL NEWS FOR THE AREA. OUR LOCALS WILL NEED TO USE LESS $4 A GALLON GAS TO TRAVEL TO DISTANT WALMARTS AND WILL BE ABLE TO PURCHASE PRODUCTS FOR LESS AND INCREASE THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING! W O W!!! TALK ABOUT A WIN WIN SITUATION. TELL ME GREENFIELD'S RESIDENTS ARE SO RICH THEY DON'T NEED A BREAK . AND I CAN'T WAIT TO STOP AT BURGER KING WHEN I SHOP THERE.

Misleading Information

Without making a statement pro or con Wal-Mart, the fact remains that nobody knows who is coming to town. Yes, it could be a Wal-Mart, but it could also be a Kohl's, Target, or any other big-box store.

Wilfried F. Voss
http://www.frogenyozurt.com

big box store.

i am one of the people who voted against Walmart 17yrs ago. i have now changed my mind. i go to the store in Hinsdale once a week. i also shop in North Hampton, Walmart. Some of their prices are unbeatable. They also except coupons. The traffic concerns are a little off the wall, the store would be right off the interstate. The stores in greenfield are already closing without a Walmart. The jobs it would bring in out weighs the negatives. If North Hampton, Hadley, Hinsdale, and Orange did it why should'nt we?? Thanks for the chance to put in my say. Kathy Thomas

Upcoming Public Hearing

It is very important that concerned residents attend and share any issues they might have. The developer projects that 11,160 MORE vehicles than we have now will traverse our streets on a Saturday.That will have major impacts on our livable, affordable neighborhoods with difficulty getting out of sides streets and driveways. There is NO independent information that has been sought to assess the impacts on our entire community (i.e. will there be an increase in taxes to maintain this development? How many sq ft of existing retail will go belly up? What about lost jobs, wages, benefits and vacancy downtown?) To make a responsible decision, these impacts and more must be obtained. Please ask the Planning Board for an independent "Community Impact Assessment." Now. Thank you.

Great!

You seem to be the singular voice in the wilderness. Appreciate your information about a development that, once again, threatens all that a small town offers to its residents. Not only the dramatic increase in traffic and air pollution, but the very essence of what it means to reside in a livable community are all at risk with this proposal.

Thank you for the wonderful

Thank you for the wonderful story. No one else is writing about this.

Patty
www.SustainableGreenfield.com

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