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Neighbors In Denver Won’t Back Down In Walmart Fight

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Neighbors in Denver aren’t backing off their fight to prevent a new Walmart from moving in.

Walmart often encounters resistance when it wants to open a new store. This location is part of a plan to make over the old University Hospital site at 9th and Colorado. A public meeting was held in the neighborhood on Thursday.

Opponents of the plan for the new Walmart are taking their fight to the street. In a campaign season they’re launching their own, trying to get campaign signs on every lawn, looking for a coalition to keep Walmart out.

Tempers flared again outside another meeting over the future of the old University Hospital. Outside neighbors bickered. Most oppose the plan to allow a Walmart to be built, but few support it.

“I think that the most important issue here isn’t no Walmart, it’s redevelop this blighted area or not,” supporter Carol Maller said.

“That’s the main issue, you know, we really don’t like the idea of a big box,” opponent Lon Breslow said.

Inside the temperature was just as hot. A study analyzing traffic in the area predicts it would be significantly less busy than when the hospital functioned. A 65 percent decrease in the morning and 40 percent decrease at night.

The study was done without consideration for how much traffic a Walmart could bring, only the size of the project. That upset many opponents.

“The Shay development didn’t have a Walmart. I think you have to do a whole new traffic study,” an opponent said at the meeting.

The city says a new traffic study won’t be done.

The project is in the same area where a new Trader Joe’s is expected to be. Many of the neighbors still support that building, but they say adding a Walmart lowers the value of where they live.

“No matter how nice they make it, Walmart is associated with, I’m sorry, cheap prices,” opponent Jacqui Shumwai said.

Walmart released a statement saying they’ll continue to review comments from neighbors and city leaders to develop the new site in an “appropriate way.” They were not the first retailer to consider the location.

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