"The Heights may soon be dealing with an unwanted resident, and they're going to have to put up a strong fight to keep them out. The possibility that Houston's seventh Super Walmart could land in the historic area has residents squirming, and a strong reaction for and against its development is spreading throughout the community.
The Facebook group, "Stop the Heights Wal-mart!" was formed after reports surfaced that Walmart is looking at a parcel of land south of I-10 near the intersection of Yale Street and Center Street, with plans for no less than the establishment of its next small country, it would seem.
The group was created to inform, gauge interest and foster discussion between independent individuals in the community, a group spokesperson said, with its sole objective to produce the result of not having the Walmart developed as proposed in the leaked site plan."
And, it degrades from there ... seems like this is the type of the thing The Press writers live for ... a chance to hit back at 'the man', to knock on 'the establishment', and to hit out at the soft underbelly of Houston's society that isn't quite River Oaks, but is far from the projects. And now, from deep within Houston somewhere, the Press folks are smiling at the thought of the Heights/Washington Avenue scene being effected by a Wal Mart in the middle of the city.
Here's my thoughts (Posted as a comment):
Listen folks ...
-The Wal-Mart is being built in the West End section of Houston.
-A 155K sq ft Wal Mart is big enough to effect several surrounding neighborhoods, including the heights
-This has little to do with whatever stereotypes (McMansions, Douche Alley) that Press typically likes to interview for competing opinions, and moreso with percieved effect on the surrounding neighborhoods
-The Perception is that a Wal Mart would mitigate gains in property value, regardless of whether you think its racist, classist, whatever. Perception is reality folks, and there are people that can talk until they are blue in the face, but they won't convince me that my home investment over several years is about to take a huge hit. THAT is business intruding on people's lives far more than I want to accept
-Additionally, the roads all across this neighborhood (West End), can't sustain any kind of traffic increase without massive improvements.
-Further to this, the drainage system immediately surrounding the tract of land where Wal-Mart is proposing a site is serviced solely by drainage ditches roughly 2.5-3ft deep.
-It is the responsibility of each property owner to keep the drainage ditches clear so that they function properly during heavy rains
-The property owner of this site has not done so, nor do many of the property owners in the West End ... this causes massive street flooding problems across the neighborhood of the West End. Simply put, the infrastructure is barely able to sustain the influx of new construction now, much less a massive concrete parking lot on the end of the neighborhood.
And, lets not forget crime ... our streets are rampant with it ... it is poverty stricken crack dealers looking to sling $5.00 rocks, its disgusting prostitutes, its folks wandering the streets knocking in car windowns, stealing whatever is not bolted down on cars. And its stupid kids in the neighborhood with no regard for growing or owning anything, that rent property to be close to watering holes, tearing through the streets drunk and with reckless abandon. There is no respect, and I won't be surprised when someone is run down late night in an alcohol fueled accident. Its not a matter of if folks ... its when.
A Wal Mart doesn't fix this ... ownership does ... pride of growing, and claiming one's stake. Can retail be good for developing the West End? Yes ... absolutely. Does Wal Mart draw folks to build $300K + Houses? No ... no it does not. Thus, will the neighborhood improve? I can't say it will ... the folks that own the 100K homes now don't care ... i see it daily. If they do, it is welcome, but on the whole, there is no improvement. The neighborhood needs to change, and development will aid that with a positive perception. If nothing else, this should tell everyone, that Wal Mart does not bring that positive perception, at all ...