What to Make of the Proposed Wal Mart?

Is Athens really open for business?


At its regular monthly meeting this week, the Athens Clarke County Commission usually absent from City Hall.

Black Athenians took the podium to say they were glad at the prospect of Wal Mart coming to town. They look forward to getting jobs--even low-paying jobs are better than no-paying jobs, one said--and to shopping for groceries at an in-town location.

Some echoed the sentiments of and Benson enterprises president Ed Beson, who assured the Commission that "Athens is open for business."

There is, as Patch has reported, organized opposition to a Big Box on the edge of a successful, largely locally owned downtown business district.

There are at least two websites now devoted to raising issues and voicing criticisms of Selig Enterprises and Wal Mart. A has performed an anti-Wal Mart video that has shown up in on-line publications across the Internet. A local film crew has created an anti-Wal Mart short film.

People keep badgering local officials to do something, anything--to either seal the deal with Wal Mart or toughen up regulations and design specs to keep them out.

Within a week, the 90-day that was enacted in November will expire. Will the historic buildings on the Armstrong & Dobbs site come down?

Everyone seems to know what they don't want on the property. But what do they want instead?  Have you called Publix or Kroger and pitched the idea of an in-town grocery along the lines of the one near Georgia Tech?

What do you envision for that property? A farmer's market? A smaller grocery the size of Earthfare or Trader Joe's? A skate park? Amphitheatre? The University of Georgia Natural History museum? Or is it fine as it is?

And what would you do with the cars associated with what you're proposing?

Tell us in the comments. But play nice, please.

Count Raoul February 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Excellent Camille! Excellent! Hipsters rejoice indeed!
Mark Farmer February 19, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Yay! Walmart and Caterpillar and lots of jobs and tax revenue. Eat that, sad little naysayers. While you're at it go ahead and cry over your destined to fail recall petition for the first mayor in 10 years to increase business and employment in Athens.
Rebecca McCarthy February 19, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Dear Mark, I have never heard anyone, those for Wal Mart in downtown or those against it, mention Caterpillar. In fact, I daresay most people who don't work for the local government or the state or caterpillar itself even knew this was happening. Also, many of those concerned about Wal Mart are not involved in the recall effort. We won't know who's doing that until the 100 "sponsor" names are dropped off at the Board of Elections tomorrow. If, indeed, there are 100 valid signatures.....
Mark Farmer February 20, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Dear Rebecca, If you haven't heard or read any of the anti-WM group mentioning Cat, then you don't read the PFABA Facebook page. Also, the recall was first discvered by an intrepid outsider following links from PFABA's FB page to a Ms. Zahn's FB page. Indescretion made that issue get announced a bit early and to an utter lack of fanfare and surprise.
Rebecca McCarthy February 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Dear Mark, the group I pay closer attention to has a different orientation and website. It's http://protectdowntownathens.com/ which is measured, thoughtful and informative. I will see what Russell and his folks are up to; haven't checked lately. thanks.


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