Nobody's popping any champagne corks just yet, but homeowners opposed to Walmart coming to their southeast Sioux Falls neighborhood are claiming victory. They're pleased that the city council took their side and rejected Walmart's bid for a zoning change. Some neighbors say their fight is far from over. Others think Walmart has little choice but to look elsewhere in the city.
People who live next to the proposed Walmart site have been raising objections about traffic and drainage throughout this long debate. They think Walmart will get the message following Tuesday night's lopsided 7-1 council vote against the project.
"It's a win for me," homeowner Dan Simon said.
For homeowners like Simon, Walmart doesn't belong in their neighborhood, and now the city council agrees.
"I also do my share of shopping at Walmart to save a little money. However, this isn't about that. This is about whether this is the right location or not," Simon said.
The opposition against Walmart has been a unifying force among the homeowners.
"I think it did unite the neighborhood; I got to know some of my neighbors I didn't know before," Sioux Falls Christian School Superintendent Jay Woudstra said.
Residents of this neighborhood see the city council's vote not so much as a vindication, but rather, a validation of their point-of-view. They don't want to frame this Walmart controversy as the "little guy" taking on the big corporation.
"I don't really feel the sense of the little guy stood up. I think we just had people stand up for what we thought was right," Woudstra said.
"And I don't think it's so much 'Corporate America' as let's be realistic about what we want in terms of community," homeowner Pat Brady said.
Walmart can try for the same place again, but some residents don't think the company will.
"I mean, there's so many locations that they could choose from, why push it," Simon said.
But residents plan to watch the process closely, vowing not to sit idly by, in case Walmart makes another push in their neighborhood.
"They're going to try, but I think in the end, it will work out," Brady said.
Several people at Tuesday night's city council meeting spoke about the Walmart's generosity to local charities. But the homeowners we spoke with Wednesday said Walmart's reputation as a good corporation and neighbor isn't the issue here. To them, it's about whether the proposed store is a good fit for the neighborhood, which they maintain, it is not.