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Walmart Issue Brings Near Record Crowd To Springfield City Council

Image by KTTS News

Walmart Issue Brings Near Record Crowd To Springfield City Council

By Austin Robertson. CREATED Feb 11, 2013

It was a near record crowd at Springfield City Council tonight, filling council chambers and both overflow rooms.

More than 50 people signed up to speak about putting in a Walmart Neighborhood Market at Campbell and Grand.

Many in support say it's just what the area needs, which is now the site of several derelict buildings. One of them is Calvary Temple. Pastor Tom Cedarblom says they've been praying for a miracle.

"Every Sunday for the last two years when we have come to church, we look at our 70,000 square feet of unusable building, and we know in our hearts that one day we'll have to tear it down. When Walmart approached our congregation about buying our property, we considered it then and we consider it now an answer to our prayers," says Cedarblom.

The common theme among those in opposition is a concern that the store, what would be Walmart's 5th Neighborhood Market in Springfield, would only hurt local businesses.

"It's not an anti-Walmart thing as much as it is a pro-downtown thing," says David Klotz. "Do we want a vacant Bistro Market? Do we want to create a hardship for Downtown Market? Do we want to discourage these folks who are demonstrating a commitment to the community beyond what we see Walmart doing?"

City Council is expected to vote on the rezoning ordinance in two weeks.