South Sioux Falls Walmart supporter speaks out against fight
It's been an ongoing battle for months between the city of Sioux Falls and homeowners over one, of two, proposed Walmart stores.
The group ''Save Our Neighborhood" has made a name for itself, opposing the city's move to zone the property at 85th and Minnesota commercial land.
Friday, KSFY News met another neighbor who says Walmart should go ahead and build.
Charles Thomas has lived in the Heather Ridge neighborhood community for just under 5 years and calls the anti-Walmart fight unreasonable.
"First thing that came to my head, wow, it'll be nice not to have to fight traffic at 41st Street and Louise Avenue. I figured it'd be an easier convenience for me," Charles Thomas said.
As a dad, and retired member of the U.S. Navy, Thomas understands the argument and appreciates the right to speech and to make a change. He doesn't want to see a lawsuit with the city set a bad precedent.
"If it passes, and people want to put up a shed in their yard, they'll have to make the city vote on it before you put a garage up. you'll start slowing down the economy which, in turn, causes jobs to drop," Thomas said.
With everything from traffic concerns, crime and location, "Save Our Neighborhood" has been in it with members saying they're not giving up.
But Thomas is convinced the fight is about the store.
"I've lived by Walmarts and K-Marts, they never bothered me. I've never seen anything difference in crime closer to a big-box store than being farther away from it," Thomas said. "It's their right to do that, to petition what they want to but they're going too far, starting to cost us tax-payers money. The group may be big but there are just as many people who would care either way if it was built or not. a lot of us out here that would rather have it built out here."
In response to Charles Thomas' claims, we reached out to spokespeople of "Save Our Neighborhood" who had the following statement, in response:
"While we certainly respect that Thomas has his own opinions, those opinions are not widely held by anyone in our neighborhoods. In fact, Mr. Thomas apparently attempted to get someone to provide some statement in support of the proposed Walmart. It does not look like he was able to get anyone to appear with him. In fact, we've had tremendous support from people both in and around the neighborhood, and also from others who live in other areas of the city.
We are not wasting taxpayer money in opposing this development; rather, we are simply using all the processes that are available to us through city and state laws. We have expended a tremendous amount of our own time and resources in doing this, which could have been avoided had the planning commission and city council listened to us.
This is not, as Thomas suggests, anything against Walmart. As we've said time and again, the same opposition would exist to any large 24 hour super center planned for that area.
Mr. Thomas and many others undoubtedly would be singing a different tune if their homes were at the corner of 85th and Audie.
Mr. Thomas and others fail to appreciate the far-reaching consequences of the city council's actions in rezoning this property. Not only is the planned development inappropriate for this area because of the lack of transition and traffic concerns, it is also contrary to the city's own plan. The city council did not take the residents' rights and concerns into account. There are a host of other south side locations for the proposed super center, which would satisfy the perceived need for this store while at the same time, not adversely affecting the neighboring residents.
We can work together to find common ground here, but not at 85th and Minnesota. We can appease the neighborhood and still have the super center on the south side if Walmart would just consider other locations." - Save Our Neighborhood
Tuesday, December 3 2013 10:48 PM EST2013-12-04 03:48:06 GMT
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