Opinion: Wal-Mart

As a property owner in eastern Plymouth I would like to voice my displeasure at the public Wal-Mart bashing by members of the Plymouth City Council in last week’s Lakeshore Weekly News, “Wal-Mart makes its concerns known.

Wal-Mart purchased and plans to redevelop a property that has been blighted for years to the benefit of the community.

Shortly thereafter, city leaders stunt the progress with a moratorium to study the issue in a thinly veiled attempt to block or delay the project in favor of senior housing, medical facilities or other uses.

When Wal-Mart objects to the council’s actions, Councilwoman Ginny Black is astonished Wal-Mart didn’t talk with her personally and threatens not to change the zoning. Indignation by the leaders won’t change the fact that the council was the first party to offend via the moratorium.

Local governments can cause harm by blocking developments even as they intend to protect the community. The Wayzata Bay Center is a recent example that stands out. Condos, retail space, coffee shops, restaurants and the like would have been built to the betterment of the community long ago had the Wayzata City Council approved the first or second plans presented.

Instead, it took three applications and the better part of a decade for the latest development to be approved in Wayzata.

The delay in planning, approval and construction has stunted and continues to stunt the business and residential community.

While those in charge of the project claim momentum in moving forward, the Bay Center basically remains as it did at the turn of the century and Wayzata has suffered as a result.

Further, the possibility only senior housing will be built in the near future while the rest of the property sits vacant and for sale for years to come is plausible.

Wal-Mart operates over 6,000 stores worldwide. If the company believes it can redevelop the Four Seasons property while being a good steward in the community, I am inclined to believe them over any local market study and the whims of the self important who place ego in front of benefit to the community.

Got a different take?  Let the community know in the comment box.

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Daniel Gustafson & Elisha Gustafson Realtors
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