On August 6, the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) hosted a public meeting, where a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) was discussed and lots of public input gathered. People in the room clearly represented those who had both pro- and anti- Walmart positions. But when those in the room were refocused on the task of sharing what they would like to see in a CBA, lots of great ideas were submitted.
We truly came together as a community to share our views.
The PSCDC as a Board agreed to remain neutral and try to advocate on behalf of the community to have a dialog with Walmart about a reasonable solution for our community.
What we on the PSCDC would like to see is a legally enforceable agreement between the Town and Walmart, linked to the renewal of business license.
So many great ideas were shared and here are some of them, split into categories.
Document commitments already made
1. Numbers of jobs
2. Store through-put
3. Parking lot runoff cleanup
Follow the rules
1. Meet CDOT and US Army Corps of Engineering restrictions
2. Meet Aspen Village HOA/CCIOA restrictions and agreements
3. Acquire Alpha Drive and reconfigure open space legally.
4. Require Walmart to agree to follow the LUDC, lights off at 11:00pm, noise ordinances etc.
Community Protections Needed
1. Protect the community from the potential for a 93,000sf dark, closed store. Lease it back to the community, deed it over or other remedy TBD.
2. Make Walmart pay its own way, including improvements needed to roads, utilities, etc. (level playing field with other businesses already here.)
3. Agree not to sue Town for relief on sales or property taxes
4. Limited storage container usage
Proposed Community Benefits
1. Create local jobs by hiring 50% local sub-contractors. Extra-local contractors should also be required to hire 50% of their workers locally.
2. Jobs: 85% of hires should be local, including store management. Set up local employment and training office.
3. Complete Town to Lakes Trail from downtown to Walmart
4. PSCDC contribution and/or a revolving loan fund to help local small businesses capitalize business adjustments due to the arrival of Walmart.
5. Pre-agreement to waive the state sales tax collection “service fee” if Archuleta County begins to collect sales taxes locally and thereby creates a funding mechanism for community improvement programs
6. Contribute to added costs of public services
7. Contribute a few small lots near store that they already own each year to Habitat for Humanity for affordable housing
8. Require Walmart to install bike racks and encourage workers to bike to work in the summer
9. Require a monitoring and disputes resolution committee with local clergy, Chamber, Pagosa First and PSCDC member, County rep and Town rep along with a local Walmart representative.
The next step is for the PSCDC to meet with Walmart to have a dialog about these ideas.