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Continued: Blaine Wal-Mart hopes to move across the road

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 12, 2013 - 4:19 PM

“We are limited in being able to expand at the current location,” Garcia said.

The Ball Road site would give Wal-Mart an additional 30,000-plus square feet of space. The new store also could be more visible to motorists on 35W. A new superstore would offer customers a broad range of products including “fresh produce and a full line of groceries including meat, dairy, dry good and staples,” Garcia said.

“It’s all about providing customers that one-stop shopping convenience,” Garcia said.

That convenience for customers will create congestion and blight, nearby homeowners counter.

If the supercenter goes in, traffic counts on Ball Road would rise from 2,000 to 14,000 vehicles a day.

Across the street from the proposed site are single-family home valued around $200,000.

Neighbors have formed the nonprofit Blaine Citizens For Smart Growth to fight the proposal. They say they’d fight any big box trying to shoehorn its way into their neighborhood. They argue that they’re a neighborhood caught in the crossfire of two corporations battling over profits.

Neighbors worry that a 24-hour superstore on Ball Road will generate round-the-clock traffic, noise, garbage, pollution and declining home values.

“We put money in our homes. We are proud of our neighborhood. We want to be able to get the equity out of our homes,” said Blaine Citizens For Smart Growth founder Cathy Harrison. “We are not against development. It could be doctors offices, a residential community — something that compliments our community and does not detract from it.”

Her home will be near the rear of the proposed Wal-Mart. As a retail supply chain logistics analyst, she said she knows she’ll be hearing the air brakes of delivery trailers at 3 a.m. and the idling of refrigeration trucks all night long.

Harrison also worries about Wal-Mart ­allowing travel trailers to park in their lot, which could lead to increased loitering and crime.

Harrison said she also wonders what will become of the building Wal-Mart owns and occupies in the Village if it opens a store on Ball Road. She worries that the big-box retailer will board it up, crippling the shopping center, and refuse to sell it, thus limiting competition.

“There are vacant Wal-Marts all across America,” Harrison said.

Wal-Mart’s spokeswoman said it’s too early to comment on what would happen to the Wal-Mart building in the Village if the Ball Road store is built.

“Those plans haven’t been finalized,” Garcia said.

Members of Blaine Citizens For Smart Growth fear that Wal-Mart’s $500,000 parks donation years ago will curry undue favor with the City Council now.

The group has found at least one ally on the City Council.

Council Member Wes Hovland said he doesn’t support building a Wal-Mart on Ball Road.

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