Boonville voters pave way for Wal-Mart

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:56 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Boonville could soon have a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, after two-thirds of voters on Tuesday approved a proposition to annex 28 acres for the development.

The vote, which brought half the town’s registered voters to the polls, concludes a campaign that pitted some grass-roots opponents against some corporate-funded developers.

“We’re very pleased,” said Larry Meine, treasurer of the Yes on Proposition A Committee. Meine said the high voter turnout shows that people wanted a supercenter in Boonville.

“There’s no question that there was a high interest in this issue,” he said.

Ken Hirlinger, chairman of the opposition group, Not So Super for Boonville, was disappointed with the outcome.

“We worked really hard,” he said. “At least we brought things to people’s attention.”

The 28.2 acres that will be annexed lie near Interstate 70 south of town at Jackson Road and Route B.

In January, the city council unanimously rejected a request by developers for $500,000 of city funds for infrastructure to support a supercenter at the site, putting annexation plans on hold.

Opponents of the development then petitioned to give the choice of annexation to citizens, an act that required the signatures of 5 percent of registered voters.

Proponents for the annexation, the campaign for which was fully funded by Wal-Mart, spent $26,000. The group outspent the opposition 10-to-1 from Oct. 1 to Oct. 27, according to records filed with the Cooper County clerk.

Some citizens are opposed to the annexation due to concerns of inadequate roads, barriers to adjacent subdivisions and storm drainage. They are also afraid of the increased competition a supercenter would bring to Boonville’s business community.

Developers say a supercenter would boost the city’s economy by creating jobs and increasing tax revenues.

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