Friday, March 21, 2008

Housing for Monsey Wal-Mart Site

In a press conference held by Ramapo Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence to thank the Alliance and its labor and community allies for the successful effort to defeat Wal-Mart in Monsey, the supervisor announced that he was looking at putting housing in the vacant 27 acre site. As the Rockland Journal News reports: "Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence is promoting a mix of residential and retail development at a former drive-in theater in Monsey. The 22 acres was proposed as the site for a Wal-Mart Supercenter until two weeks ago when the developer pulled out, citing Ramapo's concerns about traffic and sewage disposal."

The press conference was attended by representatives of Locals 1262 and 464-A, the labor unions that provided the logistical and manpower support for the anti-Wal-Mart effort. If the Walmonster had been successful, it would have cost Rockland a lot of good union jobs. As the Journal News points out: "Richard Lipsky of the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, who represented Monsey business owners in their opposition to Wal-Mart, said union jobs also had been preserved at the nearby Pathmark supermarket."

At the press conference, Assemblywoman Jaffee credited the stellar traffic work of the Alliance's Brian Ketcham. and it was the traffic issue above all else, that was the nail in the Wal-Mart coffin. As Chestnut Ridge Mayor Jerry Kobre told the News about any new development: "Obviously, whatever goes there should not attract a lot of traffic," Kobre said, "or put a burden on Route 59 or Old Nyack Turnpike."

Whatever does go into the site, however, will no longer threaten the small businesses, union jobs and community quality of life that a superstore would have. And all credit goes to the determined coalition that was brought together in this good fight.