Who is Good Growth DeKalb?
An organizer with the group fighting the construction of a Walmart in North Decatur writes to Patch to explain their positions.
Welcome to Good Growth DeKalb! We are an organization of residents from many Decatur-area neighborhoods concerned about a Walmart Supercenter at Suburban Plaza. We feel Walmart is not a potential good neighbor. We do not consider Walmart in Decatur to be a done deal. Walmarts are defeated regularly by communities all over the country. They often choose not to come when there is sufficient opposition even when they win on the legal front.
Why are we opposed to Walmart here? We’re concerned about a significant increase in traffic at this already-challenged intersection; cut-through traffic in our neighborhoods threatening pedestrians, cyclists, walkers, runners, dogs and kids; greater difficulty for ambulances getting through; lowered property values; increased crime; loss of local businesses (In a Chicago study of a new Walmart, 82 of 306 small businesses went under in 18 months.); and the burden on our infrastructure. We question whether our roads, water mains, etc., can sustain such construction and maintenance and what kind of burden this would put on taxpayers in the long run.
We see other ways in which Walmart is not a good neighbor: They provide only two jobs for every three they eliminate; their pay keeps a family of four below poverty level; low-paid workers are forced to seek taxpayer-funded benefits. We also have many nearby Walmarts. The Avondale Supercenter is less than 4 miles away! Walmarts this close together will ultimately lead to a great decrease in choice for the consumer.
What would we like to see at Suburban Plaza instead? We call on Selig, its owner, to be responsive to the community's needs and wishes. Selig has done nothing to make Suburban Plaza inviting to potential businesses or customers. We support local and small-to-mid-sized businesses that are community-oriented. Many ideas have come forward – new restaurants, a coffee shop, a landscaped area, a roller skating rink, an old-fashioned carousel – that would make Suburban Plaza an attractive place for neighbors to gather, which in turn would make it commercially viable for many businesses. We would like to hear from you. What is your vision? Come to our Community Forum on Thursday at 7pm at North Decatur Presbyterian Church, 611 Medlock Rd., and express your views or write us at GoodGrowthDekalb@gmail.com.
What have we done so far? In the past two months we have held four rallies, generating excellent news coverage. We've distributed flyers and yard signs throughout surrounding neighborhoods. We've had an overall positive response everywhere – from folks driving by our rallies to neighbors we’ve talked to and businesses we've canvassed. We reached our initial fundraising goal of $4,000 in only two weeks and have hired attorneys to conduct an initial investigation of possible legal challenges to Walmart at Suburban Plaza.
Our attorneys will speak at the Community Forum on their findings so far. Russell Edwards, from People For A Better Athens (a group opposing Walmart/Selig in downtown Athens) will also speak. Please come! On Saturday, March 10 at 10am, we will hold an Outreach March from Suburban Plaza to downtown Decatur. We will carry signs and banners along the sidewalk and distribute flyers to passersby. Please join us!
Make a donation or mail check to Good Growth DeKalb, P.O. Box 33721, Decatur, GA 30033. Sign our petition and follow us on Facebook.