Good Growth DeKalb is a grassroots community organization composed of residents from many DeKalb County neighborhoods working to ensure sustainable growth and development in our community.
In 2012, Good Growth DeKalb formed when residents from many Decatur-area neighborhoods came together to express concern about the 149,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter proposed for Suburban Plaza.
We believed (and still do believe) healthier, sustainable and profitable redevelopment is possible for the shopping center.
We actively sought 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.
- We oppose an environmentally-unsound and outdated suburban model for our area. Super centers and big box stores have nothing to do with smart urban growth – and everything to do with the outdated model of a car-reliant shopping center.
- We are concerned about 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.
- We support 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 few 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.
- We do not want our local infrastructure overwhelmed. Roads, sewer, storm water run-off are often overburdened when large stores like a Walmart Supercenter are planned. Local police also become burdened because Walmart tends to prosecute all shoplifters, but doesn’t add adequate security for their parking lots, as evidenced by ongoing lawsuits over assaults (sexual and otherwise), battery and theft of cars.
- We don’t believe the hype about local employment and economic growth. Studies indicate that Walmart provides only two jobs for every three it eliminates. Further, its pay (and low hours) can keep a family of four below the poverty level, which often forces low-paid workers to seek taxpayer-funded benefits. A study released last year by staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that a single 300-employee Wal-Mart Supercenter may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year.(1) As matter of fact, Walmart admits that its bottom line is dependent on food stamps! In addition, 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 don’t need another Walmart; we already have many nearby. 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.
(1) Source: http://prospect.org/article/food-stamps-don’t-keep-wal-mart’s-prices-low-they-keep-its-profits-high