Friday, April 13, 2007

Wal-Mart Gears Up for Campaign in Heber

Apr 11, 2007 by Julie Rose (KCPW News)

Anti-big box organizers in Heber collected enough signatures to get the city's big-box zoning ordinance on this November's ballot. But now they'll have to campaign against one of the world's wealthiest corporate giants for enough votes to quash "big box" stores in Heber.

Wal-Mart spokesman Gray McGinnis thinks a "silent majority" of voters will welcome his store with open arms: "A well-organized minority can very effectively drive the agenda, regardless of the needs and wants of a silent majority," says McGinnis. "So in the past we have run campaigns to bring out our supporters and ensure the city council knows that Wal-Mart is very welcome in the community."

Heber City has an estimated population of nine-thousand people, of whom some 14-hundred registered voters signed the petition to put big-box zoning on the ballot. Citizens group "Put Heber Valley First" is trying reverse a recent Heber City Council decision to allow retail outlets larger than 60-thousand square feet. The group worries big retailers like Wal-Mart will force locally-owned shops out of business.

McGinnis says Heber will benefit by keeping more shoppers in town:
"Currently the majority of the Heber shoppers are driving to Provo to fulfill their everyday shopping needs," says McGinnis. "And these sales tax dollars directly benefit the community - to funding parks, police, fire and other municipal services in Summit County."

Don't expect to see Wal-Mart's name splashed on campaign signs and pamphlets leading into the November election. McGinnis says The Boyer Company, which is proposing the development, will lead the campaign with funding from Wal-Mart.

Big-box on ballot: Heber voters score a chance to vote on Wal-MartSalt Lake Tribune, UT - 19 hours agoAnd they found more than 1400 fellow citizens who want a chance to tell the big-box retail giant to peddle its cheap wares elsewhere. Put Heber Valley First ...

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