EXETER – Some residents are already opposing a proposed Wal-Mart Super Center in Exeter, even though there are few details available about the retail giant’s possible involvement in the borough.
A leaflet was distributed to attendees of Tuesday night’s council meeting by a group of residents who are, at this point, choosing to remain nameless.
The document alleges a new Wal-Mart would increase Wyoming Avenue traffic to an unsafe degree.
The traffic would include an influx of shoppers as well as the heavy trucks that would provide the products to stock store shelves.
The document also makes numerous references to the devaluation of property, businesses and the environment. There are fears that the Exeter sewage system will not be able to handle increased usage and that small shops and stores, already suffering in the poor economy, will not be able to compete.
Despite the concerns, no residents made any official comment at the council meeting. Council Chairman Paul Murkawski said he felt any discussion of a proposed Wal-Mart was premature, pointing out that the issue is to be addressed at the March 25th borough planning meeting.
Murkawski offered no personal feelings on the matter.
“This is still in discussion,” he said. “There are a great deal of things to consider and a lot of things still left to be worked out.”
Borough resident Larry Marketti also felt it was too early to take a definitive stance, but stated that his initial reaction is a Wal-Mart Super Center in Exeter would be a “mistake.”
He said he, too, suspects that increases in traffic and other quality-of-life issues will outweigh any benefits that Wal-Mart might have to offer.
Wilkes-Barre attorney Brad Kurlancheek, however, was steadfast in his refusal to support the construction of a Wal-Mart in Exeter.
After the council meeting he was actively trying to organize residents into a coherent opposition.
Kurlancheek said he feels that despite Wal-Mart’s low prices, the chain is largely a detriment to the areas it inhabits.
Although not a current resident of Exeter or any of its immediately surrounding areas, he said he intends to fight any attempt Wal-Mart makes to establish itself in the area.
“I grew up on the West Side and I think small town character is something worth preserving,” he said.