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Logan Square Too Small For a Wal-Mart

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 3, 2011 8:40PM

Photo by code poet
Today in the saga of Wal-Mart and its plan to assimilate Chicago neighborhoods like the Borg turned Captain Picard into Locutus: 1st Ward Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno said he "emphatically" told the big box retailer he doesn't think a proposed store in Logan Square would be a good fit for his ward.

In doing so, Moreno also tacitly expressed the NIMBY defense that's been at the heart of the Lakeview Wal-Mart battle (emphasis ours).

Wal-Mart would not be able to move into the location without gutting the building, cutting curbs and making other changes that would require aldermanic approval, Moreno said.

He said he would like to see the retailer focusing on the “food deserts” in which the city estimates 550,000 residents of Chicago live.

“I don’t have a food desert,” Moreno said.

Now we don't know if Moreno's been keeping tabs on Wal-Mart's plans to multiply the number of stores within the city limits like roaches breeding, but they're already focusing on food deserts. Wal-Mart is also tailoring their proposed stores, such as the hotly contested Lakeview location, a West Loop location and others, to fit the neighborhood. These aren't supercenters they're planning.

Lucky for Logan Square residents that any zoning changes Wal-Mart would require to bring a store to reality at the former Dearborn Wholesale Grocery location at 2274 N. Milwaukee would require Moreno's approval, and Moreno seems like a standup alderman genuinely responding to the concerns of his constituency. But ask 44th Ward residents opposed to a Wal-Mart in Lakeview how much they trust Ald. Tom Tunney after months of hearing him say that no deal is in place for a Wal-Mart, only to see him zone the property at Broadway and Surf to make it easier for a major retailer like Wal-Mart to gain a foothold in the neighborhood.

Wal-Marts are going to open somewhere in this city. Not everyone can say, "not in my backyard."