Friday, March 17, 2006

Monsey Wal-Mart

The Alliance continues to make inroads into the Monsey community in our effort to stop the Walmonster from destroying the indigenous retail community. We've hired ace traffic consultant Brian Ketcham and have started an extensive community outreach.

There are a couple of factors that will make this an interesting site fight. The first, of course, is the religious nature of the immediately surrounding community. This brings up an interesting issue in regards to the question of Saturday shopping. The Monsey community shuts down on Saturday and there is a great deal of resentment when it feels that its Sabbath peace is being violated.

In addition, there are a number of vibrant shopping areas that will be dramatically affected by a Wal-Mart. In particular, the Route 306 corridor and Spring Valley's downtown, struggling to revive after years of decay. What can't be denied is that many of the impacted retailers come from the Orthodox community and these storeowners are vital contributors to the local communal institutions.

In addition, there are also significant numbers of Haitian and Jamaican retailers who will also suffer from the Walmonster's intrusion. This could become the most diverse retail coalition that the Alliance has ever generated. And we haven't even included Mr. Wu's large International Food Market on the corner of Rt. 59 and Rt 45 or the Suffern Chamber of Commerce that is led by Mel Berkowitz.

We anticipate that all of these forces will begin to mobilize to convince the Ramapo town leaders that this project is not in the interest of the overall business community. Local people still remembers what happened in 1969 when the Nanuet Mall opened, Spring Valley's downtown was devastated and still hasn't come back. Imagine what Wal-Mart will do to the Village's effort at revitalization.