As vote nears, Cordova residents protest new Wal-Mart

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) A battle is brewing in Cordova over whether or not to allow a new Wal-Mart store into an area that's already home to two Wal-Mart Supercenters, both located 10 minutes from the potential new site.

Many Cordova residents say they don't want a third megastore in their backyard.

"It's not like people are lacking the retail experience of shopping at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in this area," said Brian Stevens of Citizens for Sustainable Growth.

But that decision will be made by council members this coming week. The county will vote on the proposal Monday and the city will vote Tuesday.

Members of the Shelby County Commission are split on the idea.

A group that opposes building a new Wal-Mart store at Macon and Houston Levee is working diligently to flood the e-mail boxes of elected officials before they vote.

They say Wal-Mart has a history of opening up new supercenters and shutting down existing ones.

County Commissioner Sidney Chism said he doesn't buy that argument.

"I heard that argument before when they were going to build a Wal-Mart on Elvis Presley and Holmes Road. That turned out to be totally untrue. The Wal-Mart on Holmes is one of the leading stores and has not put a dent in the sales of the one in Mississippi."
But county commissioner Joyce Avery, who represents the district in the middle of the dispute, says she'll vote against the plan. She says she's concerned about traffic on the two-lane roads around the site, especially with it being so close to a school. "I believe the children's safety would be in jeopardy."

Commissioner Avery says rather than another Wal-Mart, the site is better suited for small, locally-owned shops.

The group "Citizens for Sustainable Growth" says that if the vote is in favor of the mega-retailer, they plan to fight back with a lawsuit.

to e-mail Lori Brown.