June 11, 2004

WM in Windsor

Windsor residents are having a fine time (rr) hissing and screaming at a recent government information session:

The Windsor Chamber of Commerce invited Keith Morris, director of community affairs for Wal-Mart, to address residents' concerns about plans to build a 200,000-square-foot supercenter between 16th and 17th streets next to King Soopers.

Drawings of the building were also presented.

The meeting started out cordially, but it didn't take long for it to turn contentious as residents on both sides of the issue started standing up and asking questions out of turn, groaning at answers they didn't like and even shouting.

At one point, Windsor Against the Wall members waved their yellow signs as Morris tried to talk over the noise.

If anyone was undecided on which side of the issue they stood, their voices were drowned out by the vocal supporters on each side.

Nearly half an hour into the meeting, which started at 6:30 p.m., an audience member, fed up with the constant interruptions, yelled "Stop interrupting and keep to the agenda."

The agenda, at least what the chamber of commerce organizers had hoped for, was for written questions to be submitted to chamber president Myles Jensen, who would then read them and let the Wal-Mart representatives answer.

The questions varied from the quality of jobs Wal-Mart would bring to the community to the effect it would have on area businesses and how close the store would be to Grandview Elementary.

Morris said the Wal-Mart supercenter would bring in 350 jobs to Windsor with 70 percent of those full-time and with benefits.

Asked what the jobs would pay, Morris said Wal-Mart would survey the pay rates of other similar businesses and set their rates accordingly.

Morris said the average hourly Wal-Mart worker in the Denver area makes $11.28 an hour, and the Windsor store would likely be similar.

And activists want more decisions to be based on this method?
A few members of the crowd left early, shaking their heads at the rampant rudeness.

One written question asked Morris to explain why Wal-Mart was bullying its way into town.

"I don't see how you can say we're bullying our way into the community," Morris said. "We filed plans with the city, and now we're holding this open meeting."

The only clear result of the meeting was that both sides agreed more meetings would be necessary.

Posted by Kevin on June, 11 2004 at 09:52 AM