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Letters to the Editor
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A traffic mess will result

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I was at the February Planning Commission meeting and what Commissioner Kline had to say helped me visualize what a traffic fiasco we will have to live with once the Wal-Mart project is completed. All along, my husband and I have been concerned with how the project will affect the residents living on or near Don Pedro Road, not really thinking about how all the other intersections and roadways will be negatively impacted.

Following the February meeting I went on-line and read the mitigation measures on traffic. For anyone interested, read the Planning Commission Agenda of Feb. 22, 2011, traffic pages 13-15. It identifies all the intersections along Service Road and Highway 99/Mitchell Road on and off ramps that will contribute substantial traffic to the area and cannot be mitigated. Planners will provide improvement plans to Caltrans and wait for Caltrans approval. Like Commissioner Kline stated, this could take years. Look at how long it's taken to complete the Whitmore overpass. Although some improvements to the streets fronting the project will take place, the report states "even with these mitigations, certain impacts remain significant and unavoidable as determined by the EIR." In the mean time, we, the community have to live with the traffic mess and congestion. How many traffic injuries and deaths will this cause? Why are we going ahead with the project before improving all the roads like city of Turlock did? What's the hurry?

I know some believe that a new Wal-Mart is going to bring a lot of jobs, but is it really? According to what was said at the meeting, the center will be built in phases. The Walmart Supercenter is first, bringing 89 new jobs, but the rest of the building could take five years, maybe 10, in this economy.

The point is, it doesn't matter whether it's a Walmart or a Target, our elected officials shouldn't allow anyone to develop the before first making sure the roadways and highway intersections will accomodate the traffic congestion it will bring. The few minimum wage jobs it will bring is not worth it. Let's think outside the box and try to do what's best for Ceres.

Florence Cardenas,


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Walmart doesn't own a single vacant Walmart building in California

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I appreciate Sherri Jacobson's concern regarding the need to tenant the existing Walmart store should the city of Ceres approve Walmart's plan to build a new store and shopping center. I would like to assure the Courier's readers that re-tenanting and/or selling its properties is a top priority for Walmart. To underscore that fact, Walmart has agreed to a stipulation by the city that a plan to re-tenant the property must be approved by the City Council before groundbreaking is permitted.

While not all of Walmart's properties are owned, the Ceres building is an owned location, which gives Walmart the best opportunity to re-tenant and/or sell the property to an end-user or developer who will re-tenant the property. The community should know that Walmart does not currently own a single vacant Walmart or Sam's Club building in California - not one store. And this success was achieved during one of the worst economic downturns through the diligent efforts of our experienced real estate team that is dedicated to selling and leasing our properties.

Based on our past success in selling our owned properties in California, we are confident that we will be able to sell or lease the current store property in a timely fashion due to its value and location once the property is placed on the market. Even if the new store were approved in the coming months, it could take 6 months or more for permitting and construction contractors to be selected. And after groundbreaking, an additional 12 months to build out the new store before the existing store is closed. This gives Walmart ample time to market the property as the economy rebounds and quality tenants renew interest in expanding their businesses in Ceres. In fact, this transformation appears to already be underway with the sale of many former Mervyns, Gottschalks and Circuit City stores throughout the Central Valley.

While it is not uncommon for businesses and homeowners to move to a new location before selling their existing property, it is common practice for Walmart to ensure that their properties are well-maintained when vacant, and are transitioned quickly - especially, at one of Ceres' prime retail intersections. We look forward to serving the Ceres community with a new store that promises greater selection, service and quality new jobs, and our existing and future neighbors can be assured that we intend to continue being good neighbors.

Amelia Neufeld,

Senior Manager,

Walmart Public Affairs, Central California

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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to