Up the creek with Wal-Mart
The South River City Citizens neighborhood group collected thousands of dollars to help pay for an engineering study of the creek -- which painted a picture of a fairly clean-flowing waterway that would suffer irreversibly if Wal-Mart were allowed to develop under its current blueprint. SRCC President Tim Mahoney says Wal-Mart wants to proceed with only minimum code compliance instead of stricter environmental controls. Wal-Mart engineers and neighborhood residents have spent the last couple of weeks trying to resolve their differences, but SRCC leaders say there's been little progress.
Opponents of the Wal-Mart plan fear the City Council will sign off on the zoning case because the proposed site fronts a commercial corridor along Ben White near I-35, and because the store promises additional sales-tax dollars. Meanwhile, a City Council-commissioned study is under way to determine if big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart actually generate new dollars or rather siphon revenue from existing stores.
Before today's vote, residents gathered Wednesday at the entrance of Blunn Creek Preserve as a show of support for the South Austin waterway.