Friday, Mar. 08 2013 9:07AM
If not Wal-Mart, what?
By John Beaudoin
Amidst all the bellyaching going on in the last month about the second Wal-Mart proposed to move into Lee’s Summit, we’ve seemed to now launch into a new discussion – that of offering up alternative businesses that the “city council” should try to “get” instead of another Wally World.
Among the winners were a Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Hen House, (another) Target, World Market and Trader Joe’s.
The problem is, none of them – none – came to the city with a development plan.
Wal-Mart did, so that was the project that was in front of them.
I’m not here to give a City Council 101, but members of the community who have not been real active in city government or only attend a council meeting when there is the proverbial pothole on their street need to know that this isn’t a drawing out of a hat or some allegiance to Wal-Mart when it comes to vetting and approving development plans for our city.
Sure, we’d love any of the above to show an interest in moving here. And perhaps in the future, we will see that.
But development plans are sparse right now and retail businesses are certainly taking a critical look at any new storefronts.
The quality of Lee’s Summit, our communities, our businesses and our schools and city government don’t diminish with the construction of a Wal-Mart, just as none would see a sharp rise if a high-end retailer suddenly moved to town.
Our areas of town are what we make of them.
If you don’t like Wal-Mart, don’t shop there. It’s as easy as that.
I used to live a short walk from the Wal-Mart on Tudor Road so I can speak from experience – there isn’t some seedy, shady or other element that follows this retailer around.
Disliking Wal-Mart has hit a fever pitch among some in south Lee’s Summit, but it wasn’t nearly as high at this last city council meeting as we saw previously, with roughly one-third of the anti-Wal-Mart crowd in attendance and more pro-Wal-Mart residents attending the meeting.
Years ago, Tri-City Ministries tried to keep out Hooters from Independence. They couldn’t pull it off, using all the wrong arguments against the established restaurant chain.
We have legal standards we set for businesses and development projects – and for our city and council – to follow.
One person’s Hooters is another person’s gourmet steakhouse.
And the same goes for Wal-Mart.
Our goal as a community should be to engage this business to become a partner in our schools, events, downtown and civic organizations.
Because, either way, they are coming.