Wal-Mart Controversy Continues

Wal-Mart Controversy Continues
By:  Carly O’Keefe

Jackson County, IL - Lelan Stallings stands in his front yard and motions to an open field that's slated to become the second Wal-Mart Super Center in Jackson County. He says he doesn't want the hustle and bustle of a bigger-than-big box retail shop in his quiet country neighborhood.

"I paced it off. It’s 50 feet from my property line to theirs,” he said. “If they come here, it'll be a zoo, it'll be worse than a zoo. There will be all sorts of traffic and this will be a commercial area."

Stallings can't legally object to Wal-Mart setting up shop a few yards from his home; but he can object to 10 acres of his land being annexed to stretch the Murphysboro city limits to include the new Wal-Mart.

"It’s destroying our neighborhood, it's destroying our property value, and it's my constitutional right to object to that," Stallings said.

Friday a judge issued a stay in proceedings to keep the annexation from moving forward pending an appeal.

"We scored a hit, you might say, but it's not definitive. The appellate court has to decide whether they will even take the case," said Stallings.

Even with a great deal of uncertainty ahead, some nearby residents are happy to see the Super Center's momentum slow.

"It gives me a little hope," said Carolyn Williams who may soon look over the small pond in her front yard and see the rear of the Super Center.

Williams says she's under the impression that there's no stopping the annexation, but she's thankful for the period of guaranteed peace and quiet; even if it doesn't last long.

"Just a few more months of quiet. That's all I ask if it's going to come here," said Williams.

Murphysboro Mayor Ron Williams says the stay in proceedings won't deter the city or Wal-Mart from annexing or building at the Country Club Road site.

"It's a part of the process, and part that we expected, again it's just a delay and we just keep moving forward, we've not backed off a bit," said Mayor Williams.

Residents will have their chance to vote on the annexation coming up next month. The March 21 referendum won't be open to all Jackson County residents. Only voters in the city of Murphysboro will be able to cast their vote on whether or not the land should be incorporated into the city limits.