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Dear Mayor, City Council Members, and Elected Officials,
Thank you for your service to our city, and for your consideration of these thoughts and opinions in regards to the proposed site for the Wal-Mart to be located in Houston's West End, just south of I-10 on the corner of Yale and Koehler street.
While I agree that retail development would be a positive sign for the economy of our local neighborhood, I cannot agree that the development of a Wal-Mart is the answer to such a question of positive growth. Indeed, the infrastructure that presently exists cannot withstand such a massive construction. The improvements to the feeder roads, and creation of an additional I-10 exit at Yale street notwithstanding, the neighborhoods existing infrastructure has not been improved upon since the resurgence of new construction began to gain popularity in the early 2000's.
This has left us, the area home owners, with a mixture of flooded roads, whose pavements continue to crumble under the increased duress. Additionally, the city's lack of enforcement on code violations for lot maintenance, trash cleanup, and drainage ditch upkeep, has stunted improvements in this neighborhood on the rise. The mixed population continues to fester amidst drugs, prostitution, thievery, and general debauchery, seemingly unchecked, but by progress of those moving into the neighborhood, staking a claim, and doing what we can to improve our surroundings.
It may be true that Wal-Mart would bring jobs to the neighborhood and indeed to central Houston, but so can other retail developments. Job creation is not a skill possessed solely by Wal-Mart. You must consider the perception of a negative impact that Wal-Mart has had in recent years, the exacerbating toll it has taken on local economies, and the perceived negative impact it has had nationally on US Manufacturing, import & export, small town, and now, urban economies. There are any number of research projects, papers, articles, reports, and news studies on such effects.
But what is most important, outside of such evidence, is the societal perception. The perception of Wal-Mart is enough to impact the immediate real-estate, and societal face of a neighborhood such as the West End. Being a resident here, and witnessing the changes first hand, I cannot believe that it would be a positive change. Indeed, perception is how most of our society operates, and a negative perception, can be damning in many senses; you as elected officials would understand this above many others.
So, I ask for your support in helping us find a solution to bettering our neighborhood, the West End. Indeed, the wheels of change are in motion, and the question is not if it will change, but when it will finish, and whether that end will be for the good, or bad of central Houston as a whole. Please support not adopting Wal-Mart as a tenant in this neighborhood, and help us change for the better.