There was a town meeting Monday, I don't know why or how...but I didn't know about it. Because if I had known I would have been there. About 50 people were at the Community Center to speak out for or against the possibility of a Walmart Express locating in West..Some information on the local Walmarts..Waco has one on I-35 17 miles from West..Hillsboro as one and it's about 17 miles away..
The meeting was presided over by West Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Vanek. The Walmart would be on the corner of Playdium Drive and Oak Street and outside the city's current city limits.
Seems like someone bought the land there and they want to put one of those Express Walmart's there. The group is from Abilene, Texas. There were 3 people present that represent the group. Mike Murray, a land use attorney for the group began the presentation. He said the new owners plan to open a Walmart Express Store at the site. The store would be a 12,000 square foot building, smaller than their 150,000 to 200,000 square foot Walmart store. He said that 80 percent of the building space would be for grocery items and 20 percent would be for everything else. There would also be 4 gas pumps and a pharmacy....The store hours would be from approximately 7 a.m. to 10 p.m..The client he represents donated to the explosion relief fund and became interested in developing a store in West afterwards..(gee, they donate some money to the fund and automatically think..wow..lets put a walmart up and put the 2 grocery stores and 2 pharmacy's out of business.I mean really..they didn't get blown away so we'll just send them into early retirement.)
Another representative, Don Cabalero, continued the presentation. He said that the 2 acre site on the east side of Playdium Dr and Oak Street would have a 25 foot wide asphalt road, improved by walmart, at no cost to the city of West. It would also include one light on the front entrance, 48 parking spaces and one drive in and out. There would be two to three delivery trucks per day. The building would be constructed of cinder block, 14 feet below the roadway. Deliveries would be to the back of the store and there would be one entrance door on the front left side.
He also said that Walmart would pay for a new water line to the store, for the sewer services and all of the utilities and it wouldn't cost the city anything to have this done.
After the presentations the public comment portion of the meeting began. Joe Mashek said that it was the wrong type of business for the city. "We take care of our own,"(how many times have you heard me say that about the town of West? They take care of their own."..)he said while explaining that small, independent business owners in West come through to support the community when the need arises. Mashek added that he did not understand why Walmart would want to come to a small town like West.
He said West needs small factories that would put people to work. "We need to keep our downtown strong.'
Cyndi Lair then followed with her support of the Walmart. He support for Walmart stemmed from their competitive prices. She said all the people of West should decide whether to allow the annexation and rezoning. She said that Walmart store at Bellmead gives donations to the Catholic Daughters as well as the other charities and local causes.(granted I don't claim to know every body in town but I have no clue who Cyndi Lair is..and not sure that was much of a recommendation for Walmart.)
Jessica Kapavik, owner of Jo Ann's Bridals, said she grew up in a small town in Kansas, and that the town was ruined by Walmart's presence. She believes "skeleton buildings and an empty downtown" would be the result of the new development. She said that money stays here in West with local businesses but if Walmart comes, the money will leave town.
West physician Dr. George Smith gave his support of the local pharmacies. "if you get sick at night or over the weekend the local pharmacies will open and get your medicine for you, but Walmart won't." (I would like to insert here an occasion when I needed my meds and didn't have any..it was when I was recouping from one of my 4 back surgeries and I had some how ran out of my pain pills and it was Sat. night..I had intended to get them delivered but I forgot..so at 10 at night when I had just gone as long as I could without pain meds I called Kirk at Old Corner Drug at his emergency number..It was pouring down rain too..got in touch with Kirk and without hesitation, without a whimper..said I'll bring them to you...wasn't till later that I found out he was at a wedding in Waco and left right in the middle of it, went to OCD got my meds and brought them to me..also at the time I had come to the end of my workman's comp and was in agony, couldn't work, couldn't do anything..no money..Kirk let me run a charge for my pills until I got the money..I'd sell some books on ebay and pay him a little and buy some groceries..he never hounded me, never said do you know when you might pay this bill? nothing..never..he also lets me charge my pills etc for the month now..so I pay my bill off every 3rd of the month. I can't even imagine Walmart doing that for me. And another example? Today I called him and asked about his canes. I have a prescription for a cane..for mostly when I get up and I'm wobbly..I've had the damn script since Jan. just hated to admit I might really need it..He was on another line but when he got thru he called me and answered all the questions I had about his canes..I'm pretty sure he's thinking...get off your butt and come look for yourself. But he didn't..he sold me on his canes..I love my Old Corner Drug..Kirk is my go to guy, the people that work there are wonderful..they make fun of my forgetfulness, laugh at me when I yell skin tag, show great appreciation to the pumpkin cheesecakes every Christmas and love it when I try out my new recipes on them.. I fecking love them.)
Other people commenting were that Walmart already had one in Bellmead and Hillsboro and weren't needed here.
Edda kolar, a local resident of 57 years, gave an impassioned plea to the council to deny the request for annexing the property into the city. (Let me tell you about Edda Kolar, this woman is generous, kind, funny, smart and a heart as big as my truck. When I rented from her and was hurt, couldn't work, money had run out, she let me live there rent free, until I got some money..she would come over and say how you doing ? you ok? and would give me money to buy groceries..I'm not paying her money to live there and she's giving me money..She's a pistol and I would kill for her..and that ain't a joke.)
Most of the concerns voiced by the public was the harmful effects on of a Walmart Express threat to local grocery stores, pharmacies and the Dollar Stores..Joe Mashek wondered how Walmart could make any money in a town of less than 3,000.
Responding to the comments, attorney Mike Murray said that instead of going to the big Walmart, citizens could go to the Walmart Express for their special needs instead, while continuing to support the local stores and pharmacies for their main purchases.
Other concerns involved safety issues and traffic increases in the area.
"We have to control our growth, " Jamie Allnut said.
"Does Walmart deliver prescriptions to my house? Our local pharmacies do," West resident Steve Soukup said.
After nearly an hour of comments and questions, Steve Vanek said that no action on rezoning or annexation would be taken at this meeting.
For city services, such as water and sewer, the property would have to be annexed.
Councilman Al Vanek said the goal of this meeting was to get feedback form the citizens before the council took action on the request.
It seemed that the general consensus of the audience was not to allow annexation or rezoning.
Steve Vanek said he would check with City Attorney Walter Reaves to see if a special vote on the issue could be arranged, allowing full citizen participation.
Councilwoman Cheryl Marak said if the city dos not annex the property and the development proceeds, the city will lose revenue.
Attorney Mike Murray stated that the city Council's role is to decide whether the property should be annexed and rezoned, not to pick and choose which businesses are allowed to come in to the city. Mayor Pro-Tem Vanek said he will do what is right for the city.
(If you will read back to the front where I had put the word pharmacy in bold print..it's because I think that is the reason they are eager to get here..in 2015 the West Rest Haven will be up and running..They are going after the old folks scripts..I'm pretty sure that the 2 pharmacy's are down from before the explosion..they were where the scripts got sent to..Old Corner and West Drugs..when the residents got scattered all over Waco, Whitney, Hillsboro, Hewitt, etc. the 2 pharmacy's lost business..and am sure they will welcome them back..which is what I think Walmart is after..One thing about us old folks..here today gone tomorrow, but there are more of us ready to fill the gap..
so this is part of what's going on in West..we had a great 4th of July with free hot dogs, hamburgers, games for the kids, etc..then we had fireworks later on at the West Rodeo Grounds...Jenny and Jamie were babyless so they came and hung out with Granny and we really had fun..I loved spending time with them..they are so funny, so smart, and beautiful..I love them so much..they are great daughters,great granddaughters, sisters, and mothers..I'm so lucky to have them in my life..
I was going to write more about West haps but I'm tard'....doing laundry and watching tv, and writing this at same time.I'm so handy...next week I'm doing a real West post..warts and all..see ya later gaters..I love yousonsabitches..