Good Growth DeKalb is an organization of residents from many Decatur-area neighborhoods concerned about the 149,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter proposed for Suburban Plaza. We believe healthier, sustainable and profitable redevelopment is possible for the shopping center. We actively seek the insight, expertise and resources of our community to help bring about good growth for all.
- We promote sustainable and balanced growth for our neighborhood. We support development that creates increased pedestrian activity, visually pleasing plazas that become community focal points and commercial districts that encourage diverse entrepreneurial activity.
- We have significant concerns about increased traffic. The already-challenged intersection at Suburban Plaza sees 70,000 cars and trucks daily (DOT figures). Ambulances rushing to and between DeKalb Medical Center, Emory Hospital, Egleston Children’s Hospital and the VA hospitals already have problems getting through the intersection. A thorough and unbiased traffic study has not been conducted, and no entity has proposed a plan for remediation of the congestion and/or the potential effects of increased (and cut-through) traffic. In addition, there is no accompanying plan from Selig and Walmart for pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
- We oppose an environmentally-unsound and outdated suburban model for our area. Super centers and big box stores have nothing to do with smart urban growth – and everything to do with the outdated model of a car-reliant shopping center.
- Walmart decreases residential property values. Traditionally, property values decrease after Walmart comes into the community. A 2004 Penn State study showed that with the additions of more Walmart stores, county poverty levels increased in many communities.
- Walmart drives out local retailers and smaller businesses. In a 2009 three-year Chicago study of a new Walmart, 82 of 306 small businesses within a four mile radius went out of business. Walmart’s strategy is to go into middle income urban neighborhoods and build super-centers to push out existing business. Within a couple of years, Walmart closes the older super-center, which forces residents to drive extra miles to a newer store that has been built in the interim. The strategy is nationwide and has been documented in hundreds of civic economics studies.
- Walmart Supercenters overwhelm local infrastructure. Roads, sewer, storm water run-off (note: extensive flooding in Medlock Park 2009) will be burdened. No environmental studies have been conducted to determine the development’s effect on the community. Local police become burdened because Walmart prosecutes all shoplifters and will not add enough security for their parking lots. Several lawsuits are ongoing over rapes, battery and theft of cars.
- Walmart decreases local employment and harms local economic growth. Walmart provides only two jobs for every three it eliminates; its pay can keep a family of four below poverty level; low-paid workers often are forced to seek taxpayer-funded benefits. Walmart outsources almost all their suppliers, reducing jobs in the United States. Civic economics studies show that most profits go outside the community where a store is located. Local retailers generate three times the economic activity as chain stores, and profits remain in the community.
- We already have many nearby Walmarts. The Avondale Walmart is less than four miles away and several others exist or are scheduled to open in DeKalb County soon. Walmarts this close together will significantly decrease choice for consumers.