Murphysboro Residents Fight Back Against Proposed Wal-Mart

Murphysboro Residents Fight Back Against Proposed Wal-Mart
By: Arnold Wyrick
Murphysboro, Illinois - There's a saying that goes, "build it and they will come." But that's exactly what folks living near a proposed Supercenter Wal-Mart site, fear will happen. So they're sending out the rally cry to their neighbors to stand up and fight the super store coming to their neighborhood.
"Well I wish they'd go somewhere else, like down the road a mile and a half where there's a lot more open space. They're right in the middle of a residential area," says Lelan Stallings of Murphysboro.
Murphysboro's Mayor Ron Williams would like to see Wal-Mart build a little closer to town as well, but not too close.
"I have a concern as to what effect it may have on businesses that are already here in Murphysboro. And if Wal-Mart were to go to that location, that is not within the corporate limits of the city. And that could be devastating for us," Mayor Williams said.
But there's really not much that county or city leaders can do to persuade the corporation to build somewhere else.
"The county has basically no jurisdiction. Jackson County has no zoning, has no land use ordinances. So we have no authority to stop anything from coming into any area of the county," says Gary Hartlieb Chairman of the Jackson County Board.
So with little to no leverage in where the super store will be built, the only other alternative city leaders have as an option, would be to zone the area into the city limits.
"It's going to be much harder to go out and reach out and bring that property into the city of Murphysboro. So with the city fathers, or whoever would be Mayor, would have to step up I think and make an attempt to annex that area in. We would need that sales tax revenue," Mayor Williams said.
Looking even further down the financial roadway for the city, and an already stretched thin budget, the Mayor points out even more cuts could be forthcoming without the added sales tax revenue from a Wal-Mart store.
"We've already cut just about everywhere we can. It's a 'Catch 22' to see a Super Wal-Mart coming in could be a very good thing for the city so far as sales tax revenue. But we don't want to see the local businesses get hurt. With that said without the added revenue, there could be even more cuts in the city," Mayor Williams said.
An open forum on Tuesday evening with residents and city leaders will lay out the next step in the ongoing battle on where the Supercenter Wal-Mart should be built in the area.