THORNTON, CO-The city council here did an about-face and heeded the outcry of vocal citizens by voting 7-2 to not rezone 50 acres at Interstate 25 and 136th Avenue for a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter. About three months earlier, the council had voted 6-3 for approval.

Keith Morris, Wal-Mart spokesman, tells he thinks the latest vote, which both disappointed and surprised him, was neither a rejection of that site or part of the increasing move by citizens to oppose Wal-Marts. “I think it is a result of the heavy handed tactics of a group of residents,” he tells “They were threatening the mayor and council with putting a vote on the ballot and threatening them with recalls.”

Morris adds Wal-Mart still wants another store on the fast-growing northern corridor, although he says Thornton–10 miles north of Denver–may not get it. The store was projected to create 450 jobs and at least $1.5 million annually in tax revenues.

But Joanne Flick, a member of the grassroots Residents United for Thornton, says that her group isn’t anti-Wal-Mart. Rather, she says it would have opposed any big-box retailer that wanted to build a store along the only municipal golf course in Thornton, she says.

“There are other sites in Thornton that already are zoned commercially for that kind of use, which would be much more appropriate for that kind of development,” she tells “This really was not an anti-Wal-Mart group, even though we do see that a growing sentiment across the country. We aren’t anti-growth; we’re just for appropriate growth,”

However, a number of people in the group are philosophically opposed to Wal-Mart, she notes. “It was a mixed bag,” she says. “And the city took a poll and found that 46% of the residents opposed the Wal-Mart at this intersection, even if they lived in the south part of the city.”

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