Wal-Mart Proposal Rolls in Debate

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A proposed Wal-Mart in Rockton has some residents concerned, not necessarily because they're opposed to the retail giant setting up shop, but because of the 'secret' way opponents feel the village has handled the deal.

In Rockton, the new Wal-Mart proposal is the talk of the town, but some community members say the dialogue stops at Village Hall.

"We just haven't had any information forthcoming," says Rockton resident Kevin Mueller.

"They do a lot of things secret, hush-hush, in this town. They figure if you don't know it, you can't complain," adds Martha Dwyer.

Mueller has taken matters into his own hands. He created a website, www.dowewantwalmart.com, with the hopes of opening up community conversation on the topic.

"This will only work if people go to the website and post messages, pros or cons, and I think this will open dialogue that's much needed in our community," says Mueller.

The retail giant is eyeing a parcel of land west of 251 for a new store. Rockton Village president Dale Adams says until a few weeks ago, this was just a rumor, but now that the official process has begun, he says the public will have a say.

"We didn't know, but now that we do know, it'll become more public as we progress with the development of the site," says Adams.

A public hearing on land annexation for the site will be held May 17, but for now, residents will use the new website as their conversation tool. They hope local leaders will log on as well.

Starting June 2, the first Thursday of every month, Adams says he will hold an open house at Village Hall for residents to address their concerns. Adams says he hopes this will show residents that he, too, wants to keep an open dialogue.