East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice info@eycej.org 323.263.2113

City of Commerce – Scoping Meetings for Retail Center

The City of Commerce is conducting two scoping meetings to obtain input from local residents and businesses regarding the proposed Commerce Retail Center Project which will be located at the southwest corner of Atlantic Blvd. and Washington Blvd.

On Thursday of last week, the City of Commerce held one of two Scoping Meetings regarding the proposed retail project. Over 60 community members were present to ask questions and raise concerns about the proposed project. The proposal includes spaces for restaurants and retail stores. (Take a look at the blueprint here.)

The meeting began with a presentation from City of Commerce staff explaining the process in which this project would be developed. Once the presentation was over, community members were invited to ask questions and raise concerns about the project. As community members gave public comment, it was noticeable that the majority of residents were unified in their stance against the retail center project. The hot topic of the night was the potential of a Walmart being developed.

Residents felt that the retail center could potentially bring jobs to local residents but bringing a Walmart into Commerce would not be the answer to the community’s need for a full-service market, quality jobs, nor improve the overall quality of life of the community. Concerns raised were based on Walmart’s reputation of not paying a living wage and not offering benefits to its employees. Many commented on the potential increase of criminal activity and its impacts on the local police department.  Having a giant retailer would also increase truck and car traffic on Washington Blvd, which would impact the quality of life and air for local residents.

Some residents left the meeting feeling unsure whether or not their concerns would be taken into account in the final decision. In order to ensure that community members are included in the decision-making process, EYCEJ and its members will again participate in the next scoping meeting.

The next Scoping Meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, at the Commerce Senior Citizens Center. The meeting is set to begin at 6 PM.