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East SF Residents: 'Walmart Brought Convenience'

May 2, 2012, 5:06 PM by Brady Mallory

East SF Residents: 'Walmart Brought Convenience'

A 7-1 City Council vote nixed rezoning a piece of land near 69th Street and Cliff Avenue that would have brought a third Walmart to Sioux Falls.

It could be considered a victory for Save Our Neighborhoods, a group that spent months fighting these plans.  Some people on the eastside of Sioux Falls went through the same experience years ago; however, a 194,760 sq ft. Walmart did open near their homes.

"It's been awesome!" I don't know what the big fight is over there," Marlys Wood said.

Wood believes there would not be controversy across town if any other store was going to set up in the same spot on 69th Street and Cliff Avenue.

"But a Walmart? 'Oh, no!  Not in my backyard.' Well, I have it in my front yard," Wood said.  "I've lived here way before Walmart thought about coming here and it's not been an issue.  It's not been a problem.  They've been a good neighbor."

Wood has called this eastside neighborhood home for 30 years.  She was excited for the store, and it has not brought more noise, garbage or any of the problems some of her neighbors expected.

"We get more walkers and that, but it's all people just going up there and going back.  They're not bothering us," Wood said.

After talking to a number of people who live in the area, the only universal complaint is the traffic from 10th Street to Arrowhead Parkway.

"There's times of the day going east or west that it is pretty congested.  It's tough to get out," Roger Arends said.

Arends points out his neighborhood has a lot of dead end streets that keep traffic confined to the major road nearby.  However, he feels the traffic risks are greater across town.

"Down there at 69th and Cliff.  That's one area.  Yeah, you're going to have stuff going in there, but they need to be a little more careful about what they put down there.  If they put a Walmart there, it will create a lot of traffic," Arends said.

According to Arends and Wood, Walmart's biggest impact in their neighborhood is a convenient place to get groceries and not the end of the world.

"Nobody's been killed, nobody's been murdered or anything.  It's been a very safe place," Wood said.

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