Waldo residents stepping up their fight against possible Walmart - KCTV5 News


Waldo residents stepping up their fight against possible Walmart

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Walmart is making some concession in its proposal to move into the Waldo neighborhood.

Waldonians for Waldo, a group protesting the company's purchase, said the big box store has agreed to make store hours shorter than first proposed. The group said Walmart has agreed to keep store hours from 6 a.m. to midnight instead of keeping it open 24 hours.

At issue is who buys the vacant Bingham Middle School and the 7.5 acres of land it sits on.

A group of neighbors in Waldo has been stepping up their fight against a possible Walmart.

The woman leading the campaign to put the kibosh on the Walmart plan took her message to the school board in January, the people who will make the ultimate decision on who to sell to.

The message was brief and even a bit contrite, acknowledging that residents didn't express their distaste for commercial development sooner.

"We realize they've gone through the process and up to this point the community hasn't been very vocal. I think you kind of woke them up when you said Walmart," said Melissa Saubers, with Waldonians for Waldo.

The Walmart plan for a grocery store came after a bid from Hen House fell through.

The Hen House proposal brought less agitation but similar concerns about traffic, access and proximity to homes, all issues the repurposing team was working to resolve when Hen House flew the coop.

"Previously when we assessed this with the community they said, 'OK.' We have these concerns, but we are open to looking at commercial redevelopment of the site," said Repurposing Director Shannon Jaxx.

The east edge of the site is lined with single family homes, but much of the plot is smack in the middle of a commercial corridor, giving it an appeal and dollar value that other vacant Kansas City Public Schools properties don't have.

The district says they are faced with a balancing act by being responsible to the community nearby and to the bottom line.

"We do have some restrictions about the sale of buildings. They are all serving as collateral for bonds and as such we can't sell for less than fair market value," Jaxx said.

Walmart is still working to address the concerns with the most recent revision to their proposal and the possibility of more.

If it turns out community members are opposed to any commercial plan, after hearing those revisions, then it could be back to the drawing board. The Kansas City School District is still in the process of hearing comments and concerns before cutting a final deal.

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