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.
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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