New Walmart: 3 Reasons Some Residents Object to the Project

What do people have against a project that could potentially bring in millions of tax dollars to Tinley Park and local school districts?

Walmart wants to develop the land at the corner of 191st Street and Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park. | Credit: Joe Vince
Walmart wants to develop the land at the corner of 191st Street and Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park. | Credit: Joe Vince
Jen Vargas gets involved.

Over the years, the Tinley Park resident has voiced her concerns and, in some cases, organized efforts on such topics as the closing of Mary Drew Elementary School and Walmart's 2008 proposed retail development at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue.

In a case of history repeating itself, Vargas is getting involved again over a Walmart development at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue. She and other residents have been talking with Tinley Park officials about this project since April, airing her concerns about the national retailer building a $50 million Walmart-Sam's Club shopping center on 72 acres of that land.

READ: Did Superman Promo Reveal Walmart's Tinley Park Plans?

What concerns can Vargas and community members from the village, as well as neighboring Frankfort Square and Mokena, have with development that will turn a currently fallow piece of property into a money-maker for Tinley Park and a job creator for the area? The project is estimated to bring in almost $5 million in tax revenue for the village over 10 years, and the retail project is considered a good tax customer for school districts because it creates property tax revenue without adding students. 

What's not to like?

Here are three reasons Vargas and other residents in that area will give you:

1. Tax Incentives

Tinley Park officials are asking three of the taxing bodies affected by the development—Lincoln-Way High School District 210, Summit Hill School District 161 and the Frankfort Square Park District—to offer Walmart property tax abatements in order to make the project happen.

Vargas said she and other residents resent the idea that a big, national retailer needs tax breaks or it won't be able to build its new supercenter. In fact, D161 Board President Sean Doyle said multimillion dollar corporations asking for a school district to help out financially goes against his philosophy.

"They should give us an incentive to be here," she said. "Especially since our schools could use any tax dollars they can get."

READ: Tinley Park Asks Taxing Districts to Give Walmart Breaks

The fact that the abatement request comes from a municipality that makes up only a third of the taxing bodies being asked to approve the incentives is something that rubs Vargas the wrong way.

"I find it offensive," she said, adding that Frankfort Square and Mokena residents need to have a voice in these decisions.

2. No Love for Walmart

Vargas said she has no problems with the land at 191st and Harlem being developed for a retail shopping center, but she believes Walmart isn't as contentious a corporate citizen as similar corporations, such as Target.

That "big-box retailer" gives back to local schools in ways Walmart doesn't. Target's location at Brookside Marketplace, across the street from Walmart's proposed site, gives tens of thousands of dollars to schools thanks to corporate initiatives based on customers' purchases, Vargas said. Competition from Walmart could reduce the money spent at Target, thus cutting back funds going to schools, she added.

Ideally, residents in that area would like to see something a little more activity- and family-oriented added to the community. Suggestions have ranged from more locally owned, sit-down restaurants to a park or a bird sanctuary.

"We're looking for something different," Vargas said. "We want something that enhances the community."

3. Traffic and Safety Concerns

Traffic congestion along Harlem Avenue, south of I-80, is a constant concern for residents living in that area thanks to Brookside Marketplace and the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. The addition of Walmart and Sam's Club will only add to that, according to Vargas. For instance, the Country Club Hills Walmart store averages about 10,000 vehicles a day, she said.

"Traffic is a huge concern," Vargas said. "What's going to be affected for the people living in Brookside Glen and Tinley Trails?"

The first concern for those residents is safety. The influx of more cars could not only endanger children living in those neighborhoods but also make it a bit more hazardous driving the streets with so many vehicles, Vargas said.

The worries about safety also extend to potential crime increasing in the area and how that could tax local law enforcement. From Jan. 1, 2012, to Aug. 30, 2013, the Country Club Hills Walmart location was the source of about 1,500 police calls, and the Orland Hills store was the source of around 900 such calls, according to statistics Vargas gathered from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Those figures only represent calls for police assistance, not actual crimes being committed. But it indicates the additional work a Walmart store could add to the Tinley Park Police Department, Vargas said.

"Those are 900 times police are being called to Walmart when they could be out patrolling," she said.

CORRECTION (2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17)—An earlier version of this story had the incorrect location of Walmart's Orland Hills location.
Marie Kanofsky September 17, 2013 at 08:07 AM
First, there is no Walmart in Orland Park, it is Orland Hills. Second, regardless of the actual calls, there is a police officer patroling that lot often taking away from policing the neighborhood. Most important the tax breaks are ridiculous. Someone has to foot the bill why should the residents? If they want the taxing districts to give them a break those districts will need to have the residents cover their additional expenses.
TP Karen September 17, 2013 at 08:30 AM
The monies that the taxing bodies will eventually receive seem like a mere pittance compared to what the Walmart/Sams Club will profit during that same period of time. Let them find a way to use the property where Kmart and Sam's is now...that seems more logical to me. Otherwise Tinley will have yet another eyesore on a main thoroughfare through the village.
Dm September 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM
It's sounds more like crying. Oh Boo-Hoo. Oh the traffic will get bad, Oh Boo-Hoo the children, we must think of the children walking along Harlem!?? Really? The children well gain with taxes for there schools and Jobs (yes jobs) when they are in High School. This sounds more like a cry because Wal-mart shopper are mostly going to be coming from the east. And we all know about those people from the east. That's why you moved so far South and west, but there coming to you stores your restaurants and soon yes soon to your neighborhood.
Marie Kanofsky September 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM
DM - I agree about the jobs and even the traffic. Everyone needs to adjust their thinking on that. If the people come from the east so what. My biggest concern is that while the big box store is getting a tax break, the residents will need to make up the short comings. With another big box - will come more patrols - thus the police department most likely will want a larger budget - which would be spread on to the tax payers. Also, a bigger concern....there are sales tax revenues that will be going back to the village and so forth - will this be handled in a timely matter? They weren't in a rush to reimburse/share with Orland Hills or other towns....
s.ertl September 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Where were these loud voices with Golden Corral (159th&Oak Park). They are getting HUGE tax incentives. I will say this - because I'm paying I MIGHT go there once, if I can get in. But it will never be the same after the 1st week - I've seen kids at other Corrals actually licking the chocolate fountain and nobody does anything and who knows where the parents are. Another WalMart? Why do we need so many within so few miles? I can drive 6 miles to go to a WalMart - I don't need it down the street from me. This is getting ridiculous. And if they are giving tax breaks for 10 years, WHEN will WE see the results of the big-box store giving back? I'm not part of this group of Ms Vargas, just a citizen. I will say, it bothers me when I go to CCHills WM and there are 2 squads parked at either end of the outside and one driving the lot. It doesn't tell me it's safe or there's squads being taken away from other crimes. It DOES tell me I maybe shouldn't go inside because what will happen???? And that store is closest to my house. But please, whatever you do, spare me the bird santuary or ONE MORE kids park in town - please?????
Schep Partain September 17, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Reason #4 Walmart is slimy.
Jim Quinn September 17, 2013 at 02:17 PM
She is saying the crime from Country Club Hill's, that sure sounds like racist stereo-typing to me.....
Miss Jean September 17, 2013 at 04:22 PM
LOL a bird sanctuary.
Sheldon Cooper September 17, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Will having a WalMart in Tinley Park add to its existing class? Or detract from it? Knowing that a WalMart is in the neighborhood is more a repellent to me than an attractant. I avoid WalMart-blighted areas whenever possible.
KMK September 17, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Walmart does not NEED tax breaks period. WE THE people, residents of this area who pay into LW HS, Summit Hill and the Park district already pay huge amounts and don't need them to force more taxes down our throats! KEEP WALMART OUT!!!!
Bigmike September 17, 2013 at 09:55 PM
I think Walmart Will add to our taxbase in the future. Even if it costs us some now. I'm sure they Will also bring in other stores with them. Also restaurants and more opportunities.
Patty Szczasny September 17, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Here's what some people don't understand. We do not need to give Walmart a tax break to bring their business here. My taxes are over $10K a year, I have 3 kids in the LWN210 school district. Our taxes in Tinley Park, Frankfort and Mokena will go up, not maybe--but WILL. Also, do you think once our taxes are raised that after the 2 1/2 years of the tax abatement..... they will come down. I highly doubt it.
Jim Quinn September 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM
My opinion, My kids are done with school, and moved on, Should my taxes be used to send your kids to school? Do you really think that by not having a WalMart here, your taxes will remain the same. If you want the teachers to be compensated , taxes will need to go up, Should firemen and police not get raises, because your taxes might go up.If Wallyworld can't get it, should we give it to Target. Kind of selective aren't we. and you idiots who think walmart is evil, because the union said they were, why don't you protest Macy's, Target or Kohls, Menards..WalMart pays more than all of them.with better benefits than most of them,or would you rather pay 3.50 a gallon for the same milk you can get at WM. If you saved 80.00 a week shopping at walmart, that's 4K a year, do you think your taxes are going up that much....Let me ask this, how many of you that reject walmart, are in the union or married to a union worker...be honest...I'm union and happily will go to Wal-Mart, and target, and Macy's and even Jewell. Who ever gives me the best deal, get's my dollar...
Allen De Normandie September 18, 2013 at 03:49 PM
I think many people are confused about the tax abatement concept! The forgiveness of taxes are front loaded to help offset the multimillion dollars invested in bringing the property to the level of developement. We are helping to off set some of those expenses! Abatements today are really what local taxing bodies are paying retailers to BUILD here! Walmart can afford to build anywhere they choose, including right down the street outside of Tinley Park! So you can decide if you want tax/employment advantages or not! Perhaps instead of the proposed abatements, the district should donate the land to Walmart and start collecting 35000% more tax revenue from day one??? I'm sure the multimillion dollar Panduit Corporation got a nice abatement, but we don't like WM because their TOO successful!
Allen De Normandie September 18, 2013 at 04:08 PM
I think Walmart at 191st and Harlem would be a great location and a needed service to the local community! Isn't interesting the the WM haters always relate to the negative aspects of being successful! TOO much traffic, TOO many low paying wages! Sounds like their afraid of it being TOO much of a benefit! If WM is so bad, then why do MILLIONS shop there everyday!WM growth can only be stopped by YOU! Just get no one to shop there! Perhaps the world's largest retailer should be from China!!! Maybe WM should build in Midlothian or Oak Forest???
Harry Callahan September 19, 2013 at 08:41 AM
I didn't know there was that many brainwashed blooming idiots in many ways living in TP.
Joe Tinley September 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Crime is already in TP and you know it's bad when the police don't want to release the description of the perp or perps and immediately everyone knows it's a minority then a month passes and the police are asking for help from the community, "STUPID". All another shopping center will bring is crime to an already declining community.
KMK September 28, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Walmart = Greed
usaironworker October 11, 2013 at 08:27 AM
As a former walmart employee, (Lockport) you all need to understand some things. Walmart buys in such large quantities that they only pay 1 penny over cost for almost everything. So imagine that is well over a 100 percent mark up. When they say that "they" make donations to any organization, it's not true. They collect donations from customers. They start everyone out at minimum wage and you better be prepared to be available to work 7 days a week, all shifts. Then depending on the operating expenses for the year, they cut everyone hours by at least 10 hours a week. Just about everyone I worked with was also receiving public assistance because at the end of the year, your still living below the poverty level. I get that everyone wants to save money, but at what expense. Oh yea, here's something to think about, when I worked overnights on the front end, there was no one working security, imagine my surprise when you turn the corner and 2 girls are dry humping each other in the candy aisle. Or when a "customer" walked out the front door at 4am with 2 cases of beer. I could go on & on but these thing also happened during the day & evening hours. Walmart does not care about their employees or customers. So when you shop there, don't think you are safe. I say no to the Walmart at 191st & Harlem. Go to the existing ones if you want, there are already enough of them. I watched a documentary on Walmart once and there wasn't anything in it that I could defend. Happier to be out of there. And for the record, I was fired for clocking out 7 minutes late because I was helping a customer.
P October 17, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Walmart kills jobs, local businesses, and screws over its farmers and suppliers. Their low-wages cost taxpayers nearly a million dollars every year – for each store. They have taken out dead peasant life insurance policies on their workers and cashed out when they died. They crime to the area, they've denied pay to employees who were worked overtime. Walmart causes property values to drop, their suppliers make lower-quality products for Walmart to abide by Walmart's pricing rules ("squeezing"), and once they've driven out all their local competitors, they raise the prices of the items their competitors once sold. There is no positive to Walmart coming to Tinley Park. If anything, their presence will guarantee to lower the local payroll of retail workers, cause 1.4 jobs to be lost for every person they employ, and discourage people from opening up businesses in the Tinley, Frankfort, Mokena area as they will not be able to compete with Walmart's low-cost, low-quality merchandise. How many empty storefronts do you currently see in this tri-town area? How many more empty storefronts will there be 1 year after a Walmart opens?
Jim Quinn October 17, 2013 at 09:16 AM
So wal mart will bring crime, tell that to those seven dead women that were murdered across the street. "N" your preaching the union line, and you can see the shape unions are in now...I'm union, I'll shop where ever I like and vote for who ever I like... How many empty store fronts are there now.. yet they still try and build more, before they can fill the one's they have. Let's see we have Menards HomeDepot, and Lowes, two super Targets all non-union buying from the same places Wally World buys from, they sell it for more and still pay the same min. wage..in that mix we have 2 Ace Hardware's, who have traditionally, hired kids, just so they only have to pay min. wage with NO benefits. and until you can cite pure un-unioned facts, I call your story BS...All I'm saying is they have the same RIGHTS as any other store. Come soon when you need the millions of dollars in tax revenue, I hope you will be more than willing to let your property taxes go up and pay your fair share.
Jim Quinn October 17, 2013 at 09:23 AM
One more thing,, I see little to no empty store fronts near the wal-marts, look at Orland Hills, then go to Country Club Hills, and count the empty store fronts, and don't count the one's they just built without having a buyer, but you prob. wouldn't lower yourselves to go to CC Hill's, mmm wonder why...I.m going to make it a point to go to the lots where Wal-marts are in the area this week end, Going to count the empty's..and right or wrong, I will give my tally....truthfully.
usaironworker October 17, 2013 at 10:38 AM
When Walmart puts in a new store they enter into an agreement with the villages that no other business will open up in the immediate area of their store for at least 1 year. This is so they they can say that they are the anchor of the community. That's why there was nothing around the one in new Lenox until recently. Other businesses then move in after they study the traffic coming in.
usaironworker October 17, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Jim Quinn, be sure to stop at the police dept and fill out ur freedom of information act form, pay $5.. And look at how many thief's it has brought into new Lenox. Also be careful sitting in your car, Walmart does not care about your security.
KMK October 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM
As a previous employee of a Walmart supplier, I experienced first hand how they treat their suppliers. they keep pressuring you to lower your cost and they double charge on the'defective' merchandise returned to their stores. they charge for return freight, shelf space, etc etc. whenever we got paid there was a huge chunk deducted and you ended up writing off a bunch of unpaid balances. also had the pleasure of heading out to Bentonville for the Vendor Summit to hear all about their plans when they were going global about 10-11 years ago. one of which was to buy up factories in China so they could cut out the middleman and another one was to get into the oil business so they could sell gas.. at Sams. so they are a little more devious than most of you know. when it came time for a session on vendor questions everyone of us had the same issue, WM treated them like dirt. it you didn't like it they would just get another company to source OR find out your manufacturer and then go straight to them for product. I wonder how many wholesalers or importers were put out of business by them.
Jim Quinn October 18, 2013 at 07:13 AM
USA, I don't give two shits about New Lenox, I live in Tinley,Ok so walmart brought crime to New Lenox? I suppose you blame the gun for the murdered women over by Target. They bus it from the lake? You live in Swillinois, crime is all over the state, you have pussy ass politicians who are scared crapless, to take a stand on crime, that's why you have crime in New Lenox, look at all the security they had at the Target store on 191st..only 7 women killed, Wal Mart was not around. Look I could care less about how the people in another village screw up the tax base, I would think, with what New Lenox and Frankfort pay in taxes, you wouldn't have crime. Try voting in a judge and a mayor and a gov. who really are tough on crime, instead of these hacks that only care about appeasing the unions, and their friends.. By the way where do you shop..Bet you go to Orland Square Mall. No wal mart, but loaded with crime,, I bet some of your neighbors kids are the one committing those crimes too.
Jim Quinn October 18, 2013 at 07:25 AM
So KMK, you bring your product to to Jewell and they don't try to get you to lower the cost , and of course they eat the cost of the defective product, why would you give them a defective product in the first place, that tells me you were hoping you wouldn't get caught having poor quality control. but they had better QC..come on be real... No one but Wal mart charges for shelf space?,, Didn't your company try and cut out the middleman? every company does... you own a business. you have to make a profit...Didn't Apple go global in order to cut out the middle man, worked out well for them... you do know that Costco sells gas, some Menards sell gas, your argument is so liberal it's funny. ooooo big bad business making a profit,,, How dare they make me work for my money....and where do you shop....?
usaironworker October 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Jim Quinn, no I don't blame guns, u should really sit down cause your mentality is really making you seem silly. Show me a politician that really cares about the issues and I will vote for him. And FYI those women weren't killed in target. I know crime existed here before Walmart, my point was that it increased after they came in. Maybe if your mother, wife or daughter was involved in the shooting of those poor women, maybe you would care a little more. Also, if I go to walmart, I go with my husband. By the way be careful in any parking lot. Now the thieves are bringing a van, park next to cars and cut off your catalytic converters.
KMK October 22, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Jim you are missing the point. they treat their suppliers like crap. WE didn't use a middleman- we were the middleman. The company I WORKED for imported from China. We sold to Target, Costco Walmart, Kmart, TRU, etc. Out of all those companies we only had to kiss WM's ass and give them everything they wanted. They double dipped on charging us for a defective battery not made by us but included in the product we made. Not every one was defective but they accepted the returns as such, and charged us back anyway. We know why they wanted to buy the factory we made our product at OVERSEAS so they could cut US out! None of the other big retailers did that- again this was 10 yrs ago and I have not stepped foot into a WM since then. I go to Target!! WM I believe started selling gas at Sams Club before any others-- so soon after that everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Walmart sucks-period!!!


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