This was taken Wednesday, 4/25/2012. About a half dozen "STOP WAL-MART" signs can be seen here and there were a half dozen or more signs not far to the south of the intersection on Sycamore Drive. The signs are more sparse further toward Ponce (which is also further from Suburban Plaza, which might be the reason).
[For any reading this who are not familiar with the area, Suburban Plaza starts roughly 1/3 mile in the distance. The Walmart (assuming it's not stopped) will be at the far end of it, roughly 1/2 mile to the north of this intersection. See an aerial view of the area at the end of the article.]
More in the continuation
The Good Growth DeKalb opposition group is still going strong, and was even recognized in a resolution in the Georgia House, but there have been no indications they have had any success (as yet) in derailing Walmart's progress. The organization welcomes the (active and passive) support of some of our good neighbors.
A study published just yesterday shows the the impact of Walmart on a community. It supports the position of a movie called: "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices." On the other hand, Decatur does not seem to have been significantly impacted by a Walmart 3.5 miles south of where this one will be, and 2.4 miles from the Decatur Square. This one, though, will be only 1.5 miles from the Decatur Square, and Suburban Plaza seems more like a part of Decatur than the Avondale Mall ever did.
Meanwhile, Intown ACE Hardware on Scott (almost in rock-throwing distance of the planned big box location) is bracing for the eventuality. In an Patch article written by Ralph Ellis, its owners expressed confidence they would survive, as long as Walmart does what it said (implying not having an outside garden shop). Publix and Kroger, as well as CVS, may be the hardest hit, but probably will not close.
Many in our neighborhood are resigned to Walmart coming (since it complies with unincorporated DeKalb County zonning ordinances or has obtained any necessary variances) even if we'd prefer something else; will be happy to see the rest of the mall revitalized with more desirable tenants; are glad several hundred will find jobs there; and are now focused on optimizing a peaceful coexistence with the behemoth company.
In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Bill Floyd expressed interest in holding a referendum on annexing Suburban Plaza (and Publix and Emory Commons) next year. While that might seem like closing the gate after the horses are out, he said he wanted the city to better control development and occupancy of the rest of the plaza and surrounding areas (southwest of N. Decatur Road, which would likely be the new city limit).
Had Decatur been successful in annexing out to N. Decatur Rd a few years back, it would probably have specified mixed use development (with residences over businesses) at Suburban Plaza, like it did at DeVry, and Walmart would not be coming there. On the other hand, the aging plaza (built around 1960), might continue to limp along, just as DeVry has remained empty.
What do you think?
The good news is our neighborhood has yet another stop sign intersection (Sycamore at Grove) and should have a lower speed limit on Sycamore in the not-to-distant future. This will encourage those passing through on their way to/from Suburban Plaza to take Winn Way or Church Street instead of Sycamore.
If you're just visiting and not familiar with the area, here's an aerial view:
The Decatur Heights Neighborhood is roughly in the highlighted rectangle. It ends at the City limits which is the fourth or fifth house down past the intersection in the photo above.
The new Walmart will be 1.5 miles northeast of the Decatur Square. A few years back, a Super Walmart was built at the site of the old Avondale Mall at Columbia Drive and Memorial, 2.4 miles southeast of the Decatur Square and just south of Avondale Estates. It's only 3.5 miles from the new site, but Walmart's data shows it can build big boxes this close apart in metro areas.