Did Walmart Call You?
Shepherd Park's listserv has actually had a healthy debate on Walmart potentially moving into the old dealership lot at Missouri and Georgia. But one resident sticks out—she claims that she may have gotten polled by Walmart. It's pretty interesting, and not unusual considering the company has already set up its own propaganda website. The resident writes:
"I recently responded to a telephone survey that no doubt was commissioned by Walmart. Without identifying a particular retailer the questioner asked if I would favor new retail that would offer 2000 jobs in DC and provide low prices on pharmaceuticals, food, clothing and the like. I was told that the stores would not be big-box but scaled to residential areas. Then I was asked to rate several retailers including Kmart Walmart and Target. I was suspicious and felt it was one of those "push surveys" that aren't really about polling but building a favorable impression of the business that commissioned the survey. Did others in our neighborhood get a call, too?"
Debate after the jump!
Here's a sampling of opinion from the listserv:
"Without commenting on the merits – or lack thereof – of the Walmart project itself, I think it is worth pointing out that much of the traffic congestion on 14th near the Target development stems from poor traffic engineering that resulted in one lane of thru traffic in both directions for much of that stretch. If a Walmart, or any other major project, were to be approved for the Curtis site, the city would have to come up with a much better traffic design than was implemented on 14th St. in Columbia Heights.
"ANC's or community leaders are not the only people in ward 4...EVERYONE should be included before we hear about Walmart's next move via news reports! Walmart doesn't announce that they are coming without aready receiving approval to do so!
"Huge box store- not interested
More traffic on Georgia Ave, especially at the already congested GA Ave/ Military Rd intersection- not interested More traffic racing through our back streets trying to get to said store- not interested Money definetely leaving not only the neighborhood but the city- not interested Additional stress put on the new crop of small businesses that are trying to revitalize Georgia Ave- not interested
While I like Costco and Walmart (in open, suburban settings), I'm not sure we need them in our neighborhood. If Walmart moves in, it may improve that one or two blocks adjacent to the new store but it will KILL all the other small businesses that line Georgia Ave from Silver Spring to Howard University. I've seen one Walmart kill all the business in a small town and all around for miles. We don't want to see that here. Part of Ward 4's (and DC's) flavor is the variety of small business available on GA Ave. Besides, we already have one super-size box store at 14th and Park Rd (the Target retail complex). We don't want the traffic issues that sort of business brings to an area.
"Wal-Mart destroyed my hometown's main street (small town in Oklahoma, population 13,000). What was once a thriving business community now looks like Dresden after WWII. Wal-Mart is rapacious... If the employees ever have the courage successfully to organize and unionize, Wal-Mart will just close the store; that happened in Quebec. Besides, if I want cheap, Made-in-China crap, I can always go to a Dollar Store.
Doug in Takoma,
a former union steward, who does NOT like Wal-Mart"
"I have read many points of view on this matter the past few days. I have read misinterpretation; fear mongering, hopefulness, accusations, and calls for genuine thoughtful discourse. What I haven't read is what people want to see at the Curtis site (or any other site for that matter). I see a sad trend repeating itself. We are a community of NO. We react negatively to any type of development. The previous plans for the Curtis site, mixed-use retail as I recall, was similarly criticized. If critics in the community spent as much time offering alternative visions of what they want on the Avenue, as they do rejecting plans summarily, I'd feel more comfortable with their points of view.
Maybe the neighborhood communities need get together to create their own Georgia Avenue "Master Plan" and present it to the Office of Planning. Being reactionary doesn't seem to be working.
Andre on 9th St."
"Shepherd Park Neighbors,
In my humble opinion, I don't think a Wal-Mart in the area would be a bad
idea if we can get some reassurances from the concerns expressed on this issue. If we can strongly request that Wal-Mart becomes a good corporate neighbor I think it can be a win for everyone concerned.
I am tired of constantly taking my money out of the city to the suburbs to get the day to day items needed for my household. I would rather spend that money inside the city an increase our own tax base and to have it used for our city services and programs.
I know that Wal-Mart can be a magnet of controversy, but I also believe with proper oversight and a strong commitment from our leaders and Wal-Mart that it can be a vision of stability within the community.