WalMart At Legends Decision Questioned, But City May Have Had No Choice

SPARKS, NV - There's no lack of opinions about the Sparks City Council's approval of a WalMart at Legends Monday. Our story on the vote brought a flood of comments online. But council members may have had no options.

The new Supercenter will be built on an 18-acre lot on the northwest corner of the Legends property. It will be the 10th WalMart location locally.

For a variety of reasons, WalMart is not everyone's favorite corporation, though it seems a lot of us set regularly set aside whatever those objections might be in favor of the practical attractions of low prices and one-stop shopping.

That commercial success has led to accusations that the retail giant drives other smaller competitors out of the market.

Those concerns and others were replayed at the Sparks City Council and they could be found, along with some support on the city's streets, a day later.

Lisa Thacker, a self-described loyal Target shopper, is worried about the survival of her favorite store nearby and doesn't mince words.

"To have another stinking WalMart in this town is ridiculous," she says. "It's unnecessary."

Others we talked with echoed that sentiment, but there's also support from those who live nearby.

"It would be nice to have this nearby to be able to pick up something that we wouldn't have to drive out to Spanish Springs to buy," says neighborhood resident Peter Valeska..

Others are conflicted. "Will I go in there? Out of sheer convenience and emergency? Probably," says Sparks resident Richard Smith. "But will it be a first choice or a second? Probably not."

Time and the market will tell whether a WalMart here will help or hurt other businesses here, but in the view of the council members, their job was not to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.

What was before them was simply a land use decision and though some expressed reservations about what they were doing, the vote was unanimous. They saw no legal reason to say no.

There is some concern about the direction Legends has taken. In the view of Councilman Mike Carrigan, for instance, it's far from the entertainment-tourism destination promised when the city helped finance it with Star bonds.

Adding a WalMart may take Legends even farther from that original concept, but that issue predates the proposal and this week's decision.

Having won approval, Legends' spokeperson says the new WalMart should be up and running sometime in 2015.


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