Editor, Ceres Courier,
Walmart is a double-edged sword for small cities. On one hand, it gives residents a convenient place to buy necessities for a “cheap price,” but on the other hand it drives small businesses into the ground. We can debate all we want about the pros and cons, but enough is enough with the vacant Walmart in our city.
It has been one year since the Walmart on Hatch relocated to the Ceres Gateway Center. Since then, without fail, someone is always there looking mighty suspicious or doing drugs in the massive impermeable parking lot that does a disservice to the city and environment. The Walmart on Hatch was marked for “another use” and the city expects the building to be offered to “non-competing businesses.” What could possibly be a non-competing business for Walmart? They sell everything, and we have yet to hear development updates.
As a condition when the city approved the new store in 2011, Walmart agreed to a “Reuse Strategic Plan,” which calls for Walmart to post a $25,000 maintenance bond to keep the building free from blight as well as incentives for the corporation to quickly find new uses for the building. Residents have already pointed out that Walmart has been intellectually dishonest when stating that it owns no vacant stores in California while there were vacant buildings in Gilroy, Hanford, Bakersfield and Vallejo.
Let’s avoid another Kmart fiasco and trigger the $25,000 bond and put it towards additional street sweepers!
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