McCandless residents voice opposition to Wal-Mart plan
About 120 people jammed into McCandless Town Hall on Monday night, many to voice their opposition to Wal-Mart's plans to build a supercenter on Blazier Drive.
“Wal-Mart has stated publicly they would not move into a community where they are not welcome,” resident Kris Ruffalo said during the meeting. “What will it take to let you know you are not welcome?”
Rita Martin, a retired schoolteacher, was collecting signatures on a petition to persuade council members to deny Wal-Mart's plans.
“They don't live here. We do,” Martin told council members. “This is not over. We're not giving up yet.”
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to build a 150,000-square-foot supercenter on 23 acres in the shopping center between Blazier's intersections with Ingomar and McKnight roads.
The store would have a grocery store, auto center and drive-thru pharmacy.
On July 1, the McCandless Planning Commission voted, 6-0, with Dr. James Childress absent, to recommend that council approve land development and site consolidation plans for the store, but several commissioners said they were concerned about traffic problems that the business could cause.
Wal-Mart officials told residents that it wants to widen traffic lanes and establish designated turning lanes at all entrances to the supercenter.
“We want customers to feel comfortable with shopping,” Bill Wertz, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said outside the meeting room. “It's not in anybody's convenience to have traffic snarls.”
Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on July 28.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.