Rockford City Aldermen Approve Another Wal-Mart Supercenter

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Does the city of Rockford need a fourth Wal-Mart SuperCenter? Nearby residents aren't so sure.

"I shop at Wal-Mart. I have no problem with a Wal-Mart, because I can drive eight miles to a Wal-Mart. I don't want to add congestion to an area that's already congested," resident Heidi Gonzalez said.

However, Rockford city aldermen see things differently. Monday night, they approve the city's latest Wal-Mart SuperCenter on South Alpine and Linden Road, a sales tax cash cow expected to bring between 500 and 600 full and part-time jobs.

"I welcome them here. They bring a lot of sales tax, and even though there's no medical benefits, there are a lot of part-time jobs people need," Rockford city alderman Frank Beach said.

But residents say for every new job Wal-Mart creates, it creates even more congestion and possible truancy headaches in and around South Alpine Road.

"A high school kid walks out of school, says I want to skip math, hops over to Wal-Mart a quarter mile away. What better place to get lost than Wal-Mart?

However, project leaders for the new Wal-Mart argue there is a market for another SuperCenter, especially with a fully operational grocery store.

"Customers demand to be closer where they live. Wal-Mart has had to use the same type of approach of what a full line grocery store has, and add multiple stores," Russell Waldschmidt said.

A city soon to add another Wal-Mart SuperCenter on its south side.

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