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Workers Could be Housed at Wal-Mart

(Gunnison) In an attempt to relieve conflicts associated with a potential Big Box retailer invasion, Wal-Mart today offered to provide affordable housing to the region’s low-income residents. These persons, who could qualify for the cheap housing, are estimated to be about 15% of the population. Most are engaged in daily labor in an attempt to make ends meet in this otherwise affluent region.

Although the cloudy gesture appears to be another calculated attempt to wear down the opposition, Wal-Mart officials insist they are sincere in their efforts to provide human services for the needy. The massive merchandiser, which boasts a larger GNP than half the nations on the planet, allegedly plans to construct a Super Store north of town in the near future.

One thorn in the side of planners is the likely presence of the empty facility which now dominates the North Main skyline. City and county sources agree that vacated commercial spaces are bad for a town’s image and often scare away potential investors.

“We can tolerate the closures of a few small businesses downtown but when a large structure like a Wal-Mart sits empty it reflects poorly on the entire community. Imagine if City Market just pulled up and left a derelict facility in its wake. The results could be catastrophic!”

Wal-Mart bosses insist that no plans have been finalized for the construction of a new store but many say privately that it’s all just a matter of time.

“We’ve dealt with objections before…all over the country,” said a spokesman from the company’s corporate offices in Bentonville. “Some are well organized, some are even militant but sooner of later we get our way. Sure, we’ve decided not to go into an area due to organized opposition but generally that is dictated by simple profit and loss potential.”

The well-timed gesture of creating affordable housing could win the support of fence sitters here as well as provide the merchandiser with much needed tax breaks to go along with tax incentives already in place.

“We are exploring the possibility of condoizing our current location to provide living space for over 400 families,” said the source. “In a perfect world they would all be employees and never have to leave the premises, but we expect that others would be welcome too. Right now the project appears insurmountable but it’s amazing what a little paint and some curtains can do,” she added.

After lengthy discussion it remained unclear whether building codes and multiple family use restrictions would be affected by the plan. In addition, further considerations as to cooking facilities, proper ventilation and the effects of artificial light could send the proposition back to the drawing board before it has time to get off the ground.

“None of these preliminary maneuvers represent anything close to a done deal,” said the Wal-Mart spokesman, “but with all that asphalt out front at least parking won’t be a problem.”

– Suzie Compost