April 18, 2005

St. Albans

The Los Angeles Times has an article on Wal-Mart moving into St. Albans, Vermont. It seems a little different in that the article talks about where to put it and not if:

ST. ALBANS, Vt. � In her hometown here on the shore of Lake Champlain, Erin Raymond pays $18 for a package of 30 diapers for her 2-year-old son. If she drives to the nearest Wal-Mart, about 45 minutes south, she can buy 110 diapers for $27.

The 23-year-old convenience store clerk is one of many enthusiastic supporters of plans to bring the big-box retailer to Vermont's fourth-largest city, where shopping options are limited.

But the project has brought loud opposition from residents who fear that the giant retailer will drive small merchants out of business and suck the economic vitality out of their historic downtown � especially if it goes on the site the developer is proposing.

These foes are joined by preservationists who worry that Vermont will lose its rural charm if vast retail outlets enter the state. The fight over building a Wal-Mart in St. Albans, about 15 miles south of the Canadian border, gained momentum last year when the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Vermont on its list of endangered sites. It was the first time an entire state had been given this status.

"This is sort of a wake-up call to Vermont," National Trust President Richard Moe said in Washington. "We're saying the character of their communities, and I think the character of the state as a whole, is at stake."


Preservationists say they are not trying to bar Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from expanding in the state. Rather, they say they want the company to open smaller stores that do not detract from Vermont's quaint image.

In St. Albans, the yearlong debate has centered less on whether to open a Wal-Mart than where to put it.

Posted by Bob on April, 18 2005 at 02:31 AM