Back Print

Letter to the Editor: "Menard's doesn't really care about the citizens of the Decorah area or the surrounding environment on the Upper Iowa River. I am hoping that the Planning & Zoning Commission does.

Posted: Wed, Jun 13, 2018 4:45 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Karen McLean of Decorah):

You know the old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words"?  The photo in Tuesday's posting on, "Would Menard's consider another site for its proposed store?" certainly summed up the tenor of Monday night's Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. 

Individual after individual implored Menard's to consider a building site other than in the flood plain next to Walmart.  Issues of flooding, property damage, traffic and safety on the bike trail were all concerns raised by people who spoke at the meeting.  These concerns were raised by citizens who had sustained extensive damage during previous floods and individuals who had worked on emergency management planning, testing water quality or regional experts on long-term watershed management.  The picture above illustrates the interest exhibited by the Menard's representative while various citizens from Decorah and those areas downstream from the flood plain spoke.
When it was Mr. Edwards opportunity to address the Planning & Zoning Commission, I was waiting to hear something to the effect of 'I have heard your concerns and Menard's takes them seriously.  We want to work in partnership with the City and its citizens to address your concerns and make this a successful venture.'  Instead, he failed to address the floodplain concerns raised by the majority of people who spoke at the meeting.  When asked by one of the commission members about whether a building site in the Decorah Business Park could accommodate the proposed store, warehouse and parking lot, he failed to answer the question but instead indicated Menard's wanted to build in the proposed flood plain site due to retail synergy.  In other words, we want to do what we want to do so we haven't considered alternatives.

I wondered about the Menard's stores that have been built in the country (without retail synergy) on Sand Lake Road in Onalaska, WI or in other business parks (Iowa City Menard's).  

I left the meeting with the impression that Menard's doesn't really care about the citizens of the Decorah area or the surrounding environment on the Upper Iowa River.  I am hoping that the Commission does."