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Community integrity vs. Dollar General

To the editor:

Lake Placid rejected Walmart in 1998, and Saranac Lake did the same in 2006. For all the same reasons, Wilmington will reject Dollar General in 2021.

Dollar General, NYSE: DG, $213.31/share as of this writing, is now owned by a group of investors including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, et al. As of 2/21, DG operates 17,266 stores in 46 states. These people are not in business to benefit communities or their residents; they are in business to maximize profit for their shareholders.

We will reject Dollar General by coming together to celebrate the value of where we live, and reaffirm our appreciation of the generations of investment in our community by the residents of our community — our friends and neighbors.

We will reject Dollar General by adhering to our comprehensive and robust Town of Wilmington Zoning Code, which was enacted precisely to prevent the betrayal of our residents, in fact “to preserve the beauty and character of the Adirondack Park setting to benefit the Town of Wilmington, its residents, visitors, and business community.”

As a founding member of the Visions Committee, and the guy who drove half his machine shop to the beach to build the first round of walkway and area lights with a bunch of happy volunteers, I can with tears of profound gratitude assert some 30 years on that we have far surpassed those early dreams of an idyllic community. Though we lost the vote to properly identify ourselves as Whiteface Mountain 52%-48% way back in those formative days, I really don’t think anyone rolling into our town now has any doubt about how we identify where we live.

We will not lose this vote.

The town Highway Department lent me their walk-behind measuring wheel. The proposed site for the Dollar General is 1,441 feet beyond our established pedestrian access sidewalk infrastructure. But that’s irrelevant.

Because in all those community visions way back when, and since, and any visions extending into the future, there isn’t “anyplace” within the view of our castle in the sky for a corporate franchise box store to cause an “undue adverse effect on the Town and its citizens and taxpayers.”

That castle is real, folks. It is held aloft by the mountain I call home.

Karl von Entress

Wilmington