Wal-Mart plan met with opposition

Tomorrow mayor Annise Parker will meet with local residents and business owners at the George R. Brown Convention Center from 6:30 to 8:30p.m. to discuss the contentious Wal-Mart proposal. The residents of the Heights neighborhood and also the Washington Corridor have staunchly opposed the idea of having a mega chain superstore built in their pro-local, small business community.

The concerns that come from the neighboring residents are not just limited to the facts that the Wal-Mart will crowd out small businesses, but also other ambient concerns.

Some of those concerns pertain to the fact that a 24-hour store might increase crime due to increased late night activity. Other concerns are that the proposed Wal-Mart will add negative effects to the surrounding community as far as traffic, lighting, and drainage.

Many of these concerns are legitimate and are something to consider. It also would be legitimate for the residents of both worried neighborhoods to be considering the values of their homes and businesses.

The parties who desire the Wal-Mart as well as the superstore company itself have valid arguments of their own. Supporters of the superstore claim that this particular location is not actually even in the heights neighborhood. The area where it is being proposed is actually in an area known as the West End. The West End neighborhood is close enough to be considered either part of the Washington Corridor or the heights neighborhood. Regardless of the technicalities of location, the supporters and people who are proposing the new store claim that the project aims at improving the neighboring areas and attracting a wide variety of businesses and potential residents.

The development group in charge of the project  promises to take the current community and then enhance it.

The development of this Wal-Mart would make it the first inner loop Wal-Mart in Houston.

The proposed Wal-Mart store would also be a source of added jobs to the community and city.

Both sides have their arguments and both have substantial interests in their respective goals, but this is an issue that simply comes down to politics.

If the proposed Wal-Mart is built then the residents of the neighboring communities could boycott the store, something most of them already do by purchasing local foods from farmers markets and local grocers.

The developers have already purchased the vacant lot, and there may not be much more the heights residents can do as far halting the development of this store. If the proposed superstore is built, the residents of the neighborhood will remain unhappy and dissatisfied with their city officials representation.

Andrew Taylor is an Economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

  • Traditionally owners of tiny little stores are hired by Wal-Mart in their new location to sell what they have always sold in their own store.

    The only change is the store owners now work five days a week rather than six or seven; have a benefit plan, sick leave and less worry.

    That is pretty attractive to some small business owners who have become slaves to their own little business.

    It is however, difficult to find research data to show just how often that happens in large urban areas such as Houston.

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