Cities, borough should establish criteria for mega-businesses

Posted: Monday, November 28, 2005

I would like to voice some commentary regarding the possible coming of Wal-Mart to the central Kenai Peninsula.

Any event of this magnitude impacts the whole of the peninsula. We are a very spread out community, but a community, nevertheless. Our neighbors are the businesses in the area, as well as the people who work in these businesses.

It is my opinion that the cities and the borough should have criteria for mega-businesses that wish to settle in our community. We should have an analysis of the area to see the types of business that the community could support and whoever they serve as a complement to the community’s quality of life.

To provide businesses of increasing size to overwhelm the community and erase the small business who have been our bread and butter, as well as more vested employers in our community, does not serve to enhance the quality of life here on the Kenai.

Employees who are underemployed, have no benefits for themselves or their families, need to work extra jobs and cannot efficiently participate in family life. These stressed family members in the community have not the energy to support the services such as schools and other civic programs that make a community healthy, due to time, financial problems and other difficulties.

It is my opinion that, given the track record of Wal-Mart megastores in its present venues, a reasonable set of criteria in setting up new business would eliminate a megastore such as this.

Within the natural development of a community, it is meeting community need that encourages certain business to increase and others to fail. When there is not a complementary relationship, but a power play, this natural process does not serve needs of the community, but the powerful entities wishes.

It would seem that Kmart would serve to inform us of this process. It pulled out with little or no warning leaving a lot of underemployed persons up the proverbial creek without a paddle. It would be so easy for our community to adapt to Wal-Mart’s ways rather than having Wal-Mart fit into the community by adapting to our needs as a community.

Mary J. Toutonghi

Soldotna



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