Perspective: A WIS Editorial - Downtown Walmart?

Boy, the prospect of a Walmart being built on the former Blowfish stadium property has got people riled up.    Residents of the Olympia neighborhood, small business owners and environmentalists concerned about  Rocky Branch Creek water quality have all chimed in to express their concerns with Columbia City Council.

Business owners fear that a downtown big box store will threaten their survival in this shaky economy.  Folks in the surrounding neighborhood want a say in how that property gets developed citing problems with stormwater runoff and traffic in the area that must be considered.  But one of the biggest complaints is that the decision to sell off the stadium land was made without public input or subsequent notification that contracts had been struck with WalMart.

So far, city council has disputed the big box concept but hasn't denied the commercial project.  What rubs a lot of folks the wrong way is that the whole deal was voted on in a somewhat sneaky manner and without full disclosure.   Handling things in this manner just never works out well and certainly doesn't promote trust between City Council and their constituents.  You'd think Council  members had learned this lesson before.