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WERE WAL-MART CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES FULLY UTILIZED?

In January, 2007, this writer found himself along 103rd Ave. in Yelm taking pictures of the high groundwater areas
surrounding the Wal-Mart construction site from the backside, doing research for a story about flooding and high groundwater hazards in Yelm, and in particular the shutdown of Yelm’s well # 1 due to contamination, which draws its water just downstream from the aquifer beneath the Wal-Mart site.
I presented the Wal-Mart site flooding as an issue to both the Yelm Planning Commission and the Yelm City Council in 2006 and will do so again in 2007 during the Comprehensive Plan Update sessions.
That research was printed as a Letter to the Editor in the local Nisqually Valley News (NVN) on Feb. 2nd (subscriber access only).

Just after that January photography date, a story appeared on Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles site about UFO’s spotted over Yelm’s Wal-Mart construction site by Wal-Mart construction employees [see https://yelmcommunity.org/ then scroll to February 15, 2007]. Coincidentally, Ms. Howe has been in Yelm in the past as a speaker during the early 1990’s at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, presenting her findings in her then-published book “A Strange Harvest” which explored the worldwide animal mutilation mystery which has haunted the United States and other countries from the mid-20th century to date.”

Now that we’re just weeks away from a Wal-Mart opening here & during the January photo session, I paused to contemplate several things about this site:

A. What about the high ground-water flooding issue?
During the rainy season in subsequent years, the 750 vehicles that Wal-Mart states will traffic through its parking lots will add oil drippings runoff that will infiltrate into the aquifer. This year, there was no vehicular runoff except from a few construction vehicles. How will Wal-Mart’s projected traffic pollution affect the aquifer in the future after store opening?

B. Then Mayor Pro-Tem Harding and the 2005 Yelm City Council supported the approval of this store here to the effect being the recipient of the 2006 Jefferson Muzzle Awards for inhibiting citizen comment about Wal-Mart.
With the Mayor, City Council and others pressing for better-paying jobs here, are they aware of the opportunities for training programs, apprenticeships and internships, high school tech field visits, etc. on the Wal Mart site during the construction phase?
The Wal-Mart construction site is a golden opportunity for City of Yelm officials to follow through on their stated desire to help our young people get some skills, maybe earn a few bucks, & keep their minds growing.
Further, these kinds of activities would be perfect opportunities for our youth to be active, instead of being idle and causing problems for the community and Yelm Library, in particular. Mayor Harding addressed this issue in the March 2 NVN regarding the February 27th Yelm Timberland Library Board presentation to the City Council about youth problems at the Library saying “It’s not so much the lack of places to go as it is a behavior issue, Harding said… Harding said the city has lots of ideas for some kind of youth center, but engaging students and teaching them to have a respect level is what will help the library.”
Lack of a youth center, the dissolution of and non-interest by city officials to support continuity of the fine community Drew Harvey Theater and other youth programs are a large part of the problem, too. Our youth want and deserve great programs to keep their minds and bodies active and expanding.

Bottom line:
Are the high-groundwater areas surrounding the Wal-Mart site going to be addressed by the City, or just be allowed to flood, with subsequent oil pollution runoff in wet years?

Has Mayor Harding, the Yelm City Council & Mayor appointed Yelm Economic Development Committee (EDC) worked with Wal-Mart seeking educational opportunities and jobs for our youth during the construction phase?

It’s about the Future!

What say you?

Posted by Steve on March 9, 2007 at 5:37 am | Permalink

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3 comments

  1. @W??@??d I don’t think bringing youth onto the Walmart construction site is all that special of an idea. All you are really talking about is vocational training, and those types of opportunities are pretty abundant. I think you are being a little nit-picky here.

    What would have been a nice idea is to have a volunteer youth group involved alongside the people conducting the EIS on the site.

    And a better idea yet would have been to have Walmart outright build a youth center for the city as part of the deal to build a Superstore here. I mean it would only be logical as civic-minded as they claim to be.

    And Walmart is contributing significantly to the bypass project — correct?

    As an aside: What fire stations and schools have been built or are being planned to be built by the incredibly active land developers in our area?

    As well, how much are they actually contributing to the bypass project, other public utilities, water, etc.?

    –Shelley Lucus

    Comment by Shelley Lucus on March 11, 2007 at 11:34 am

  2. Wal-Mart only had to pay for the Loop section fronting their store between SR507 & 103rd. That’s it.

    I covered the fact that Wal-Mart’s impact fees did not adequately cover the incease in traffic saying on this blog on February 5 #3,

    “3. CITY WILL BE WIDENING YELM AVE EAST IN A FEW YEARS WITH NO EXPENSE TO WAL-MART AS CAUSE
    I stated on September 8, 2006 in a letter published in the NVN:
    “Developers…impact/mitigation fees were a good idea and I applaud the City of Yelm for embracing them in 1995. However the City was following the general trends of area jurisdictions and the process has not been updated here since that 1995 adoption…The City taxpayer (not Wal-Mart) will end up paying for road widening of Yelm Hwy and continuing streets construction to accommodate Wal-Mart generated traffic, since those vehicles will have no Y3 Loop for years and be forced onto city streets. The city mitigation fees did not require Wal-Mart to cover this condition adequately.” Yet, the city says fees are adequate with no action planned. Yelm taxpayer will pay.”

    Comment by Steve Klein on March 11, 2007 at 1:04 pm

  3. The City of Yelm, as I told Mayor Harding in a letter when I applied for a Yelm Planning Commission spot, is wearing short pants while the developers, Wal-Mart and Tahoma Terra, etc. are wearing long pants.

    During the Hearings Examination, a 3 day session to determine whether the Yelm Commerce Group could require an EIS before a shovel hit the ground for a Wal-Mart, it was clear where Yelm stood. Experts on both sides were so anxious to discuss their findings in their areas of expertise, that body language became loud. They were… gagged because, in their state-of-the-art world, Yelm was still in the sandbox. Some of them tried to more fully engage the issues but were quickly silenced. In addition, questions to the Wal-Mart experts went something like…. Were you told that there were schools on Yelm Highway? No. Were you told that there were crosswalks on Yelm Highway? No.

    One of my life’s greatest lessons came from Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Atticus teaches his daughter Scout that you never really know a person till you walk around in their shoes.

    In developing a big picture for Yelm now and the future, the “powers that be” have not walked around our hometown. They have not seen the flooding. They have not seen the signs disfiguring our sidewalks and distracting drivers. They have not walked a year from now as a parent attempting to get their children to the dentist’s office. They have not been a storefront that has been permeated with car exhaust. They have not turned from a side street trying to get onto Yelm Highway or out of a business parking lot.

    With what is obvious now to commuters, business owners, and students, it is clear they have not walked in anyone else’s shoes but have stayed locked in their recycled ignorance.

    Comment by Jean Handley on March 11, 2007 at 1:44 pm

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