The dispute has also ignited a vigorous, sometimes bitterdebate among neighbors in scenic Chelan, population 3,600, over the future of its character amid a changing economy. While the opponents are celebrating their rare victory as a David-vs.-Goliath battle to protect their way of life, a lot of people have been looking forward to all the amenities and low prices the world's largest retailer would offer.
The Wal-Mart issue clearly is about much more than zoning codes.
"I think it is going to divide the town," says Gene Kelly, owner of Kelly's, a hardware store that sells everything from shotguns to tricycles.Just like Pullman. So who is causing this bitter division in Chelan?
..Defenders of Small Town Chelan, a group of locals and well-heeled Seattleites with second homes in town...Yep, it's always the elitist outside agitators. For example:
For Laurel Jamtgaard, who heads the group that has managed to raise all of $15,000 for the cause, the issue is fundamentally about protecting the town's charm.Screw the poor people. I want my "charm." These people make me sick.
"It is just so out of scale for a small community," Jamtgaard said. "I'm totally empathetic to people trying to buy goods at lower prices and tired of driving to Wenatchee or Omak. But every small town doesn't have to have one of these stores. Part of living in a place like this is being further from that kind of convenience."
Kevin Huff of Wenatchee was hired to work in the garden center, and has been busy helping to get the store ready for a grand opening he is certain will come.Thank God for the the voice of the Common Man. We'll get out Supercenter too, in time. But we should never forget what the snobs of PARD who have done to this community.
If not in two weeks, he figures, then eventually.
"I'm not worried about it," Huff said.
"These things have a way of working out. Most people want the store."
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