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Dozens Protest Walmart’s Desire To Open Store In Watertown

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(File Photo Credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

(File Photo Credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

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WATERTOWN (CBS) – Walmart has their eye on Watertown and residents have the giant retailer in their sights as well.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports.

Dozens protested Saturday at piece of property leased by Walmart, which wants to open a store in the area.

The protesters stood on Arsenal Street waving signs, reading “No To Big Box Stores.” There is also a protest billboard overlooking the land being leased by Walmart.

Michael Mandell of the group, Sustainable Watertown, says they want small, locally owned stores in the area, which is within easy walking distance of some neighborhoods.

“The second thing is, what we really also wanna do is make sure that Walmart gets the message that they break the lease and that they get out of town,” said Mandell.

Right now, Walmart is dealing with a Mexican bribery scandal. Michael Fine of Sustainable Watertown says that’s only one reason to send Walmart packing.

“That’s not the kind of neighbor we want, and there are a lot of reasons that bring people here together. Some of it is just traffic, and maintaining town character, concern for larger ‘big-box’ expansion,” said Fine.

The group is also insisting Walmart disclose any contributions made to local politicians.

Steve Restivo, the senior director of community affairs at Walmart released a statement:

“We’re proud of the positive impact our stores have on countless communities across Massachusetts. From creating jobs and generating tax revenue to helping customers save and contributing to local non-profits, we strive to be a good corporate neighbor here and all across the country. Moving forward, we’ll continue to focus on things customers care about like jobs, healthier foods, sustainability and workforce development. Our commitment won’t change and as we evaluate opportunities to serve more local customers, we’ll continue to try and offer solutions for our customers in Watertown and other communities across the Commonwealth.”

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