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Opposition to Wal-Mart Ramps Up, Proposal Meeting Set

Officials with Wal-Mart will present their plans in a public hearing at 7 p.m. March 28 at Gifford Elementary, 8332 Northwestern Ave.

A number of residents have launched a public campaign against a proposed Wal-Mart development.

Earlier this month, an official with Wal-Mart told Village Board that they would like to build a Wal-Mart -anchored commercial development, including an 115,000 square foot Wal-Mart, at the Northwest Corner of Four Mile Road and Highway 31. No formal plans were presented at that meeting. However, a public meeting has been slated for Wal-Mart officials to give a formal proposal to the public at 7 p.m. Monday, March 28 at Gifford Elementary, 8332 Northwestern Ave.

Meanwhile, a group called the Caledonia Coalition for Responsible Economic Planning, has printed anti-Wal-Mart signs and buttons, put up a Facebook page called “No Wal-Mart in Caledonia,” distributed fliers accusing the board of holding a meeting illegally and not giving enough notice for the March 1 meeting, and made a website under the group’s name.

Village President Ron Coutts said he’s already gotten phone calls from people saying he’s trying to rush the project through, but the Board has yet to hear a formal proposal and they haven’t taken any action, he said.

Coutts said the meeting was not a violation of open meeting laws when they went into closed session and that they had given more than the required 24-hour notice for the meeting.

“In the closed session we wondered about the process and how we were going to go about this with regards to the legal process,” Coutts said. “Wal-Mart (officials were) not there and the Board had a right to go into closed session.  There was no discussion about money.”

Coutts said he has yet to make a decision on how he would vote on the project because he hasn’t heard the formal proposal.

 He also explained that officials from Wal-Mart are paying for the cost of renting the school and for six police officers to be present during the meeting. They are also requesting that if people do bring signs, that they sit in the back of the room so that people can see.

“We’ll be hearing about the details on Monday for the first time and we want to hear the whole story so that we can make an informed decision,” Coutts said.

At the public hearing the Board will not be making any decisions.

“I’m not sure if the people making the presentation will be taking questions or they’ll break up into small groups,” Coutts said.

In our next story, we'll talk to the people involved with the Caledonia Coalition for Responsible Economic Planning.

patchreader 123 March 27, 2011 at 03:32 AM
BTW, WELCOME TO CALEDONIA! THANKS AGAIN.
Kathy Aschebrock March 27, 2011 at 08:03 AM
Call me STUCKKKKKKK ON STUPID, but I just have to have something clarified. Being labeled one of those people that was allowed in(to the community ) It's OK for us to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on our homes, pay taxes, help fuel the economy with purchasing from the business,put money in your banks, donate to charitable organizations and so on. BUT that's where the line is drawn? Can we have an opinion? But heavens forbid, we shouldn't voice it. I know I GOT THAT PART RIGHT. If there's more, could someone look into writing a hand book so we know what our boundaries are ? It sure would help so we didn't step outside of them in the future. One last question,how long do we have to live here ,before we are no longer labeled one of those people? Patchreader 123, thanks for the welcome .
Tom Boldus March 27, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Here's a site for a peek. stopthemoneygrab.com Enjoy!
Denise Lockwood March 27, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Really interesting comments on this topic. So far I've made contacts with the village, the conservancy and neighbors about this story. I've noticed that some of you wanted to see articles that allowed focused on the people who support this project. I think that's a fair assessment. I'm planning to do a preview story tomorrow morning. If anyone is interested in going "on record," give me a call at 664-3850 before 11am. Please keep the comments focused on the issue at hand and not on one another. If we can't keep comments civil, then I'll have to start going through every comment and pull the ones that are not on topic. I'd rather not have to do that though because it takes time away from writing and editing. And I'm sure you'd all rather have me doing that than babysitting the boards. :) Moving forward, I'm interested in hearing about what every one things the pros and cons are to having this project, whether or not you'll go to the meeting Monday night (7 p.m. Gifford Elementary), and what questions you'll have going into the meeting? Thanks Denise
patchreader 123 March 27, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Hi Denise. The below link provides a nice summation for those against the Walmart proposal. http://www.ccrep.org/images/Oppose_Walmart_Flyer_01c_Compatibility_Mode_.pdf
robin bertzyk March 27, 2011 at 07:51 PM
suzanne maybe its time for u to move out of caledonia . if you are that lazy to drive across town. you said look at kenosha maybe you should move there so u dont have to drive across town.
JW March 27, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Those opposed to the 4 mile location... would you be ok with the 6 mile and 32 north eastern corner if that was an alternative?
robin bertzyk March 27, 2011 at 07:59 PM
PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT DRIVING ACROSS TOWN TO BUY STUFF SO DOES THAT MEAN WHEN U GO TO WORK YOU WALK OUT YOUR FRONT DOOR AND YOU ARE AT WORK. I DONT SEE PEOPLE BITCHING ABOUT THEIR PROBLEMS TO DRIVE ACROSS TOWN TO GO TO WORK.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
robin bertzyk March 27, 2011 at 08:03 PM
SUZANNE: MAYBE ITS TIME FOR U TO MOVE IN TOWN SO U DONT HAVE TO DRIVE VERY FAR . DO U WORK AND IF SO DO U HAVE TO DRIVE THERE OR DO U WANT YOUR EMPLOYER TO BUILD HERE SO U DONT HAVE TO DRIVE VERY FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
JW March 27, 2011 at 08:41 PM
Do you really think this is a solid argument Robin? The area between Oak Creek and Racine (some seem to call it Caledonia) is one of the closest areas commutable to Milwaukee that still has quite a bit of room for growth and progress. Now is the time for it. It is reasonable for people in Caledonia to look forward to the growth of retail in the area and believe the planning for and allowing for it is not too early right now. The nation is poised for recoveries in the coming decade that will likely lead to a rebound in growth and Caledonia is going to be a prime area that people around Milwaukee will find. There are ways to keep the area green as well as support retail growth and really... retail growth along the highways makes the most sense. The majority should speak, not those who want to simply dicate that driving 10 miles should be no big deal. It is not just miles, it is time. Getting to the shopping areas of Oak Creek or Racine and back from many places in Caledonia is a 30 minute trip not counting the shopping time. Sometimes there is a need for a quick trip... our area will certainly support another retail area now and into the future.
robin bertzyk March 27, 2011 at 09:47 PM
JW: WERE DO U LIVE SO I CAN GATHER SOME INFORMATION. IF U WANT A QUICK TRIP THEN GO TO A QUICK TRIP. U SAID THERE ARE WAYS TO KEEP THE AREA GREEN WELL THEN SUPPORT. DO U HAVE YOUNG KIDS. I DO THEY HAVE FUN IN THE FIELD IN THE BACK YARD WERE I LIVE WERE WAL-MART WANTS TO BUILD. COME ON OVER AND SEE WHAT I SEE. STICK TO THE LAND USE PLAN?
Greta Mueller March 27, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Kathy - if you're addressing me, you'll notice my comments don't in any way deprive you of the right to speak up, in fact they mention you have every right to fight for what you don't want. BUT, what about those people that have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their homes, have paid tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars in taxes into this community for decades, have been subsidizing businesses in this community, possibly longer than you've been alive, yet THEY shouldn't have a right to fight for what they want to see added to their community? Like I said previously, I haven't made up my mind yet because I haven't seen the proposal, and I look forward to informed debate debate on this topic, when it is possible to have such debate. BTW, the key to undo the "caps lock" is just left of the letter A on your computer keyboard.
suzanne March 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Nice how Robin wants to call people names, you are right jw we should have the same acess to stores as anyone else! Even though some people want to start calling me names, no I am far from lazy, and NOT going to move. I will support any business that makes sense, In an area where we have none. Again I dont feel like packing up my 4 kids with the price of gas what it is to get some cheaper deals on essentials is being lazy!!! Just tryin to save money in these hard times. Also those new business will create jobs!!! @ Robin What i do is none of your damn business, and no I dont want to drive far, I really hope they build it now, see you at the meeting if you have the balls! Not everyone is wealthy remember that Robin before you start calling names.
suzanne March 27, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Driving isnt the point we really need new stores here an almost everyone under the age of 40 would agree. I didnt see all of this oppostion when they built all those new neighborhoods up an down charles street. Where do you think everyone is going to shop? Right on JW it is not 10 but 15 to 20 min. to any store besides kmart! At Robin grow up please !
suzanne March 27, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Totally agree and so does most everyone I know does also!!!! We would welcome a store here with open arms as we have been waiting for years for new businesses aroound here, especially a hardware store like Lowe's or something. Also agree with your time issue, hate wasting it driving.
suzanne March 27, 2011 at 11:02 PM
I have young kids also, most of us that live in neighborhoods have yards or can play at parks. Sorry we dont have a feild like you do , but most people dont! Come on Walmart and even more restaurants!!!! You would be surprised how many people are sick of driving across town, we are not wealthy, dont have to burn gas up to make the rich happy !
Kathy Aschebrock March 27, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Gretta, I'm 62 years old ...MOTHER ...GRANDMOTHER...AND GREAT GRANDMOTHER!
suzanne March 27, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Get real the work comments are just stupid no we dont want our work to be out our front door, want to enjoy more time with my family and not waste gas driving a half an hour, sorry you dont By the way bet u drive a surburban and dont care how much gas is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Denise Lockwood March 27, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Wanted to remind you all of the terms of use you agreed to when you signed up. * is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive; * infringes or violates another party's intellectual property rights (such as music, videos, photos or other materials for which you do not have written authority from the owner of such materials to post on the Service); * violates any party’s right of publicity or right of privacy; * is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; * promotes or encourages violence; * is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way; * is illegal or promotes any illegal activities; * promotes illegal or unauthorized copying of another person's copyrighted work or links to them or providing information to circumvent security measures; * contains “masked” profanity (e.g., F@&#) * contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or * contains any advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation. Instead of trying to memorize all that, you might boil it down to three main policies: “Keep it clean,” “Don’t try to trick people,” and “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Easy, right?
Denise Lockwood March 27, 2011 at 11:40 PM
I can yank comments if you'd like, but I'd prefer to spend my time on other things. So please focus on the issues and not each other.
Jeff Warg March 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM
We do need more shopping on the north side of town, there are 61,000 people in that live in 53402, 53404, 53108 and 53126. All we have is K-mart. It is up to the people of the area to decide where is the right place to build this. We could also use a full service fitness club, a theater, a bowling alley and how about restaurants such as Chili's, Chipolte etc. The highest per capita income levels in metro Racine are on the north side, not by Regency Mall.
Rob Fisher March 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM
My concern with this area going from residential to commercial is that you will never get back to what it once was.development will continue to truck along to the north covering both sides of the road all the way to 5 mile road.I live just down the road from here in a quiet subdivision and love it,I really hope this doesn't happen!
suzanne March 28, 2011 at 12:19 AM
I agree with you both, you cant get it back maybe four mile isnt even the right place, BUT JEFF YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!! wE DO HAVE THE HIGHER INCOME HOW COME WE HAVE NOT one STORE BESIDES KMART, NOT TO MENTION ANY HIGHER END STORES! aS FAR AS REGENCY MALL, THAT IS A JOKE, HOW MANY SHOE STORES DOES ONE NEED? wHILE WE ARE MENTIONING STORES, HOW ABOUT A PANERA BREAD, OR EVEN A wENDY'S ? i TOTALLY AGREE ON FITNESS CLUB AS i ALREADY DRIVE ACROSS TOWWN TO GO TO ONE, BESIDES WHAY LOONEY TUN ROBIN SAYS !
suzanne March 28, 2011 at 12:20 AM
TRYING TO TYPE FAST ISNT MY THING, APOLOGIZE FOR THE MISSPELLED WORDS AND TYPOS!
Greta Mueller March 28, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Rick, you raise a good question. From my understanding of the brief information given at the March 1st, meeting, Walmart did look at Douglas Avenue and they didn't find a location that would fit their needs. I do see their point - there isn't a lot with that acreage of open space there, if the goal is to have ancillary development in the future. I'm also assuming (pretty safe assumption I think) that the Walmart developers have done their homework with regard to traffic counts, rooftops, income demographics, location and decided the 4-mile and 31 location was their first choice. It's also customary, though I have no idea if it happened in this case, that companies looking to locate anywhere in Racine County are prescreened by RCEDC (Racine County Economic Development Corporation) or Racine County and given ideas for the best locations in their target area. Again, not sure if this happened, but if it did, Walmart would have been given suggestions of sites that fit their needs/wants. Since Caledonia doesn't have a development director or any real development staff per se, we (the taxpayers of Caledonia) pay RCEDC and the development staff at Racine County annual fees to do some of this preliminary legwork for us. Also remember the board hasn't even seen the proposal yet. Usually if someone wants to develop in your community, they'll choose the site - if that doesn't work out, then alternatives are discussed.
Dennis W Klemick March 28, 2011 at 03:48 AM
I think JW could possibly be on village board, from what I here the village board only really cares about money. As far as CCERP is concerned, they do want Business , but to stick to the land use plan. This land use plan was developed by the board with alot of input from many long time caledonians. When we let these zoning changes start to happen in single family areas ,whats to stop it from happining in your area. I'm all for businesses to move in to Caledonia ,But do it in the right fashion.Stay in commercial property areas. I understand that the people that were approached by Walmart to have option to buy their Thanks property , they were offered absorbent $ I guess you can't blame them. Only time will tell,Hope to see many people at tomorrows meeting at Gifford School. Dennis Klemick SR.
patchreader 123 March 28, 2011 at 07:11 AM
JW: You are truly a piece of work. First, you make the below insulting statement: "The houses in that area that have the signs up (with or without the signs) would only improve the look of that stretch of 31 if they went away." Then, you being up another blogger's personal financial issues on an open web site??? 1) What on earth does this individual's purported financial issues have to do with the financial impact of opening a Walmart in caledonia? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 2) Although you will likely claim such that information is "public" due to its availability in court records, you nonetheless crossed a line by bringing such irrelevent information up in a blog. Such activity on your part is completely uncalled for, and can arguably be considered a violation of the terms of this blog (either violates another blogger's privacy; or is harassing). The mere fact that you would take the time to look up some blogger's financial history in court records, when such information is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand (whether or not to open a Walmart in Caledonia), is very telling. I initially assumed you were lacking in common sense and credibility. I was wrong. Instead, this blog is apparently some kind of a sick game to you - making inciteful statements in a public forum with the goal of upsetting others. This includes the authors themselves of various Patch articles dealing with other subject matter.
patchreader 123 March 28, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Denise, I beg you. Please ban this fool from the Patch blogs. Let him take his sick game elsewhere.
JW March 28, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I do not consider any of this a game. I consider it an important topic for the community and I would hate to see people swayed by some group that makes claims without the counter points being expressed. I am sorry for what I said about the houses (in terms of "with or without") I took that one step too far... but I think it was still relatively tame overall and were within a context that was not about bashing the owners but trying to point out how I think it is strange for them to say they are concerned for preserving the green and earthy nature of Caledonia while blighting their area with those ugly signs. It is all about the double talk and that, as I believe I have seen through this blog, with many of the CCREP supporter it does not really seem to be about the things they are listing, it is simply about the Wal-mart coming into THEIR neighborhood. Again, I understand that part of it... but the issue is bigger than just them in the future growth of all of Caledonia... and no matter where any retail goes, it will affect someone.
JW March 28, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I considered the public record of someone making veiled threats to be fair game regarding profile. I will have to review the TOS to see if that is spelled out. You want to claim I must be a member of the village board, which is untrue and baseless. I merely pointed out what is available for the public. News departments use and report based on that info all the time. I removed the posts anyway.

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