This website is dedicated to the opposition of the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Warner Road.

The Wal-Mart Corporation is planning on expanding into the Town of Gilbert by building one of their largest retail stores, a Wal-Mart Supercenter, next door to our town’s municipal buildings at the corner of Warner and Gilbert Roads. This is bad idea, and will have a very negative impact on the physical and cultural landscape of our community should Wal-Mart succeed with their plans.

Gilbert must respond to this super-store expansion by a large corporation that does not value our interests as a community. Building a giant super-store at the gateway to our community, in the core of our most cherished and important landscape would be a terrible mistake and must not happen. [more...]


Wal-Mart plans to open approximately 50 new discount stores and 180 to 185 new Supercenters in the year 2003.

Do the Math! That adds up to
a new Wal-Mart every 38 hours!

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Please help stop Wal-Mart
from building in our town’s Municipal & Civic Center core!

What can you do to help?

Also you are invited to join an active email group to receive
regular updates and information on this issue by sending email to:

GilbertWal-Mart-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Just three years ago, Wal-Mart came to town and quietly swore the Town Council to secrecy (www.sprawl-busters.com/article159). Luckily, news of the proposed Wal-Mart was leaked and Gilbert residents were successful in rejecting the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the southeast corner of Lindsay Road and Warner Road.


Wal-Mart apparently feels that Gilbert residents will not be similarly opposed to a new location just one mile to the west - and this time Wal-Mart erroneously feels that it has an ace up its sleeve.  As the land in question is already zoned for commercial use, Wal-Mart did not need to apply for a zoning change and has quietly entered into a contract to purchase the land.  Research has shown that this "backdoor" approach to bullying its way into neighborhoods is typical of Wal-Mart's business practices.  The proposed building is to be approximately 185,000 square feet and contain approximately 850 parking spaces covering 22 acres.
Fortunately, the Town leaders of a decade ago had the foresight to realize that the property in question was very important to Gilbert. In Ordinances 617 and 725, Gilbert leaders (with the approval of the current land owner) ensured that the "vision" of downtown Gilbert will be protected. The zoning ordinances adopted by the Town Council for this special piece of land prohibit traditional shopping center uses such as grocery or drug stores. The zoning ordinances require a high quality, mixed-use commercial environment that fits in with the civic center complex. These ordinances are legal, enforceable and can only be changed by the Gilbert Town Council.


As clearly indicated above, it is the opinion of this webpage that the property in question is very special and important to the Town of Gilbert. It is, in effect, our downtown - our "gateway" to the community and what should be the center of the Town's cultural & civic activities. Nowhere in this "vision" of downtown Gilbert does it indicate that these activities include a trip to Wal-Mart. What should be obvious to all is that once this property is developed, be it a high-end beautiful mixed-use complex or a low-end big-box Wal-Mart, the property - and all the promise it holds - is fixed for decades. Should Wal-Mart somehow be successful in building at this location, Gilbert will forever be a "drive-thru" grid on a map. There will be no "downtown", no single location that the Town can point to with pride as its cultural and civic hub - and there is no other property within the Town that can fill that void.


Within the majority of the cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area, there are instances of "successful" core downtown areas - none of them include a big-box store of any type. Scottsdale's downtown and civic center has always been a major draw and is a model of what a true downtown should be. The Borgatta and Kierland Commons are ideal examples of what type of property could exist (and fulfill the zoning ordinances) on the corner of Gilbert and Warner. Tempe, Mesa and Glendale have all revitalized their downtowns and are reaping the benefits in attracting new business, tourist dollars and civic pride. It was and remains the desire and vision of the Town of Gilbert to have the "Civic Center" corner be a location where families can gather, stroll, and take in a good dinner or cultural event. This is not accomplished by developing a big-box store in which one goes for diapers and has to hike through acres of parking lot to get there.


Though many residents may feel differently, this website is not opposed to placing a Wal-Mart within the Town of Gilbert. In fact, this website fully supports the Wal-Mart that is to be built within the Power Ranch regional mall area (along Greenfield Road from Ray to Pecos - and potentially less than 4 miles from the proposed location at Gilbert and Warner).  This web-site is opposed to placing a Wal-Mart Supercenter:

  • directly adjoining Gilbert Town Hall
  • in a location that will forever deprive Gilbert of the promise of a special identity
  • directly across a major street from an elementary school
  • in a location that will greatly increase "shortcut" traffic directly past a second elementary school
  • on a lot on which the Town had planned an upscale, pedestrian-oriented "boutique-type" retail center
  • on a lot that may negatively impact the planned upscale Gilbert Town Square just west of the proposed Wal-Mart location
  • in a location that will negatively impact (if not eliminate) scores of independent businesses located within the downtown Gilbert area
  • in a location in which the "big-box" architectural style will be the focus of downtown Gilbert.
  • Within a 4 mile (10 minute) drive from either of the two nearest existing Wal-Marts and a 4 mile drive from the coming Power Ranch regional mall store

Research has indicated that a Wal-Mart Supercenter involves over 8000 additional vehicles daily, 24-hour delivery schedules with up to 25 tractor-trailer deliveries per day, additional crime (not just at the store location but within the surrounding neighborhoods), additional litter and, believe it or not, RV parking for overnight campers!


Wal-Mart has recently mailed a flier equivalent to propoganda to nearly 35,000 residents of Gilbert - whether or not they will be affected by the proposed store location. This flier indicated that the proposed store will provide a windfall of tax revenue and 500 new jobs to the Town of Gilbert. This is misleading on several fronts. Initially, while it cannot be disputed that Wal-Mart will provide tax dollars to Gilbert, those very same tax dollars can be achieved through alternative uses at the very same location. In addition, there is no mention in the flier that Wal-Mart IS coming to Gilbert (Power Ranch regional mall) - and will be a source of tax dollars at a location that is far more appropriate for a 24-hour big-box eyesore. The 500 new jobs promised for Gilbert also come at a cost. Typically, each new job at Wal-Mart is of the minimum wage variety and Wal-Mart is very well known for limiting the number of hours worked so as to avoid providing benefits to its employees. Research has also indicated that each new job created at Wal-Mart costs the community 1.5 jobs that could have been created elsewhere.


It is imperative that concerned residents of Gilbert contact as many people listed under the "Contacts" section as possible.  Make these people aware of how you feel about transforming the beautiful and quaint upscale vision of downtown Gilbert into just another "big-box" eyesore.


Questions & Comments may be sent to info@nodowntownwalmart.com

 

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