Pilot Editorial

Thursday, April 11, 2002

City isn't anti-development

It seems unfair to hear the city council being portrayed as "anti-development" by some, just because they are taking some time to explore the implications of a Wal-Mart Super Center on traffic, pedestrian access and so on.

No one in a public position has said that a Super Wal-Mart should not come to Storm Lake, or that it would not necessarily be good for Storm Lake.

What they are saying is that the talk of such a massive store stands to change the community somewhat, and that it is timely to think of such things as development patterns, sidewalk, traffic devices, utilities and other practical matters before a developer starts laying block, not after.

Council members are dusting off their most recent comprehensive plan, and reacquainting themselves with patterns of thought on future development of the city, and how it can be shaped to best serve the community's needs. That can only be a positive exercise.

If Wal-Mart wants to build a Super Center in Storm Lake, it will do so, and nothing under discussion now is a threat to that.

The council's responsibility is not to Wal-Mart alone, however. Its job is to ensure safety, accessibility and efficient movement of traffic as well as to promote development. While some members of the council may currently not see quite eye-to-eye on the specifics of that role right now, we believe they are all on the right page in trying to serve the best interests of the people they represent.

By the way, however, if the city finds a way to provide a sidewalk/trail to serve Wal-Mart and the rest of the businesses on North Lake Avenue, we hope it will also be able to reverse course and find a way to help with the application for a Main Street Iowa program next time around, because the downtown business district of Storm Lake is every bit as essential to our economic future as is a new megastore.