Walmart isn’t wanted in Caledonia by a number of residents in the Village and they met Tuesday to organize opposition to a store that has yet to be formally proposed.
About 50 people attended the anti-Walmart meeting on Tuesday at the Roundabout Bar and Grill where they discussed everything from circulating petitions, writing letters to elected officials and even fronting candidates for village board positions.
The retailer has only presented a concept plan and has not submitted formal plans to the village board. Meanwhile, the anti-Walmart group has gathered research on everything from how many stores Walmart has abandoned to local market studies.
In September, Walmart announced that it would like to build a 24-hour general merchandise store on the southeast corner of Four Mile and North Green Bay road. Company officials say the store will create 300 jobs, most of which are expected to be full-time.
Katie and Jim Tiderman, who live near the potential site, organized the group.
"I, as a community member, have no obligation to Walmart, I have an obligation to my community, which I love. It didn’t logically make sense to me... This location, it seemed so inappropriate," Katie said. "If they need jobs in Racine, they should build this in Racine."
One of the biggest obstacles that would need to be overcome is the 40 percent open space requirement the village has. However, Fran Martin, past president of the Caledonia Conservancy, told the group that the legislative and licensing committee is looking at changing that requirement.
"I suggest that you have people go to that meeting," she said. "...I also suggest that you have someone sympathetic to your cause think about running for the Village Board."
Katie explained that they already have petitions in a number of local businesses, including Ayra's gas station, Danny's Meats, Arbee’s Liquor and Nelson's Variety store.
The group plans to start attending as many meetings as possible.
"You can go to the plan commission tomorrow night and speak," Katie said. "We need to make our feelings known."