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Wal-Mart Not Welcome in Cottage Grove

Yes, that’s my personal opinion.

Following on the hells of my view of why we’re better off letting the Vikings leave instead of spending money we don’t have to build a new stadium, I thought it a fitting time to chime in on why the city of Cottage Grove [more-so the residents] don’t need a Wal-Mart.

There are many reasons why I feel this is a poor idea.

1) You can travel 10 minutes North to Woodbury, South to Hastings or West to Inver Grove Heights. All of those locations are less than 10 miles away, and you have a 4th option, a far 12 miles away in St. Paul.  Why do we need to saturate our community with more unsightly white ugly buildings and beat up station wagons?

2) The land proposed to build it on will do many things:

  • Kill off Cottage View Drive-In, one of the few remaining Drive In theaters in the state.  Granted, the owner wants to sell, but someone else can buy the theater.  Heck, if I had the backing, I would.  Maybe I should ask the state and city to help me, and be just like the Vikings.  The site of the drive-in will essentially be a dirt pit used to fill in and level off the proposed build site.
  • The proposed building location is very near residential areas that now have a back yard with trees and nature.  They would soon have ugly white lights, ugly building and semi-traffic continually.  Even with the proposed tree-line that would be planted, it would take years for them to mature and block the ungodly ugly building and lights
  • Light pollution. Having lived about 500′ from a similar building, there is no amount of landscaping and trees that will drown out the yellow tint of the lights as they tower above the trees in the parking lot.

I’m sure there are more negative effects, but those are most prevalent in my mind.

3) Location: Now, recall, that the Home Depot closed a few years back, and that space has been vacant since.  While I have seen a sign for LA Fitness coming to 1/2 of that building in 2012, I have yet to see any activity or motion around the building.  Wal-Mart would have had a perfect opportunity (or possibly the LA Fitness deal fell thru and Wal-Mart can now purchase the building) – Recall the other 4 Wal-Mart’s within a few miles.  Home Depot has the same thing.. Woodbury, East. St. Paul, plus you have Lowes nearby as well.

You don’t need to build new when slightly used will do.  You already have the building, the space, the parking and the annoying lights residents have been accustomed to for years, why make more.

Instead of companies coming in, wanting to build huge ugly structures to schlep their cheap goods, why not fill up the empty spaces we have right now.  I can think of nearly a dozen buildings that sit empty in our small little town.

  • Rodeo Night Club – Has been empty for 4 years now I think.  What once was a great country bar had turned into a home for rejects who didn’t fit the dress codes of clubs in Mpls/St. Paul.  As a result, it turned into a dive and closed.
  • Strip mall behind DQ on 80th.  over 1/2 of those store fronts sit empty.  The leasing sign touts over 60k cars past it daily.  While I see this number as quite high, and the location isn’t the best, there is plenty of opportunity for business here.
  • Rainbow Foods strip. – The bingo hall closed near the time of the smoking ban, and short of the space housing Halloween City or whatever last fall, it has been an empty hole.
  • Home Depot – Closed for 4 years or so, due to corporate call to close stores across US.  Great location and space, perfect for any big box/chain store use.
  • Hollywood Video / GameStop – More great real-estate that is just being wasted with excellent visibility.
  • Blockbuster Video – This space is now open since they closed this Spring.
  • KFC – Cloased last fall.  It would be a great place for a Chipotle to move in to. (HINT HINT)
  • Further down 80’th, you have the front where Bonnie Blink Subs tried to make it and failed, mainly because their subs weren’t that good.

In short, you have many vacant spaces to fill up that could provide jobs, and help the local economy.  With a Wal-Mart a stones throw away in almost any direction, we do not need another one.  We need to be sensible about growth, but also need to be mindful that too much growth can hurt.  One look up Highway 61 in Newport will show you this after the construction of the new Hwy 61 corridor.  Many businesses closed their doors, as easy access to them was removed with the new roadways.

Do we need another one, or don’t we?  We have a Target, 2 grocery stores, 4 liquor stores 7 pizza places, not to mention 2 subways within 1.5 miles of each other.  I’d love to hear your opinion on this, so please chime in.