Walmart move into Mission draws controversy - WNEM TV 5

Walmart move into Mission draws controversy

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FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

Things got heated at Fairway City Hall Tuesday night over a letter sent out to neighbors about what kind of "clientele" the Mission Walmart could bring in.

It was certainly not a typical Ward 4 planning meeting. Sparks flew as residents voiced their anger over a letter written and passed out by former City Councilman John Ridenour.

He cites his concern over the pending move of the Walmart from Roeland Park to Mission.

"We need to keep the neighborhood looking good because we're in a wonderful location," Ridenour wrote.

Ridenour goes on to say he is afraid people shopping at the new Walmart will take notice of his quiet neighborhood and want to move right in.

"Be honest with yourself. Most of them are of a different class in that they do not feel the desire of a beautiful neighborhood and maintaining property values." He continued with, "When they move in, we'll start to see junk cars in disrepair in front yards along with other trash, and down will go the property values."

Fairway resident Monica Rios felt like he singled out the Mexican-American community that shops at that Walmart.

"A lot of my family shop there. He has no idea what struggles people have," Rios said.

Rios has lived in Fairway 17 years and is proud of her Mexican-American heritage.

She took exception to Ridenour's letter, worried it sends the wrong message about her town.

"No matter what color we are, we are good people. Black, blue, purple ... I don't care what color you are. We are good people," she said.

Ridenour wouldn't speak to KCTV5 after the meeting.

Ridenour sat on the Fairway City Council for 17 years, and people in the area say they will see him at most meetings to this day.

He said he loves his community and never meant to offend anyone.

"If I said something somebody finds offense, I'm sorry. I apologize. I did not intend to offend anybody, to put anybody into a group as somebody has suggested. That's not it at all," he said.

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