Neighbors don't want a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in their Tulsa backyard

Wednesday, September 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

They're called Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets. But ironically, the neighborhood or a large portion of it anyway, hates the idea.

Mid-town residents packed Tulsa city hall Wednesday to fight a proposed Wal-Mart Market at 41st and Harvard. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has the story.

It's a hearing of the Metro Area Planning Commission. And they heard an earful. Residents angry about a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market possibly coming in on a former Christmas tree lot at 41st and Harvard. "And we're going to have something open 24 hours a day."

One of the biggest concerns besides traffic is the hours of operation. Residents says Wal-Mart's success is proof this will be a busy place. And all the light and noise pollution that go with it, says Jeff Gillespie who lives just south of the site. "The great northern lights now have a new meaning to me." A lawyer for Wal-Mart says they're simply meeting demand. "And there are people who work late, and it is convenient for them to shop late and they found that to be a worthwhile endeavor so it is a 24-hour operation."

Wal-Mart's lawyers also argue that the infrastructure at the intersection was designed with a grocery-store sized operation in mind. But residents say it's unlike anything in the area. "Everything along Harvard, almost everything along Harvard between 41st and 51st is office light and those are people that have office hours, five days a week, very few of them are even open on Saturday." Wal-Mart's lawyer says they'll have a large wall to block noise and landscaping.

But a resident's picture of landscaping at the Brookside location drew chuckles. "The picture actually makes it looks pretty good."

But it's a conversation with a property tax assessor that sums up residents' biggest concern. “He's told me yes that if this warehouse-type facility goes in, your property value will go down."