Are Halls Wal-Mart Builders Developers or Pimps?

I read your [Jan. 24] piece about Wal-Mart on Chapman Highway and that company's practice of leaving shopping centers and their tenants to die when they move out to newer, larger stores. Very soon, residents of Halls will get to watch the same death of a shopping center and the deterioration of the space Wal-Mart currently occupies there.

The residents of Halls will have developers Mark Tarver and Bud Cullom to thank for that. When the zoning was changed on the new property to allow it to be developed by Tarver and Cullom, there were 250 people who showed up at the City Council meeting. Their concern and opposition has fallen on the deaf ears of City Council, Tarver and Cullom. If the land on Norris Freeway that they now own doesn't end up being for a Wal-Mart, it will be a LowesHomeDepotTargetOfficeMaxTruckStop. Pick your poison. Whatever, rest assured it will meet the only criterion that matters to the developers/developee—money.

As for dividing up the blame, it comes down to the developers facilitating the process and their total disregard for the people who live in the affected community. You might have guessed that neither Tarver nor Cullom live in Halls. So they won't have to worry about the traffic, loss of quality of life or the effects on the community. I grew up in the same church as the Tarver family and I would think Mark knows better.

Developers of this type are totally immune to the long term consequences of their actions. It's just "supply and demand," they explain. If there were no demand for a (insert big box store name here) then there would not be a need for the land to build one. In my opinion they are supply and demand pimps, comparable to cigarette makers, liquor producers and drug dealers, harming families and the community in the long term. Just meeting a demand. A purely selfish one.

William "Bill" Murphy

Knoxville

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