Thanks to a reader tip, I came across an Examiner article (also referenced by Patch and TBD) reporting that several members of the county council are attempting to block the $4 million subsidy that Ike Leggett has proposed giving Costco to encourage them to open a store in Wheaton. All along, this subsidy hasn't sat well with me. First of all, Costco announced its plan to open a store in Wheaton in a press release that listed a number of other new store locations around the country. I always wondered if the other communities threw that kind of money at Costco to get them to come or if Costco just decided to go there based purely on the potential money they would be making.
If the county is going to give my money to a company or developer to encourage them to do a project here in Wheaton, I want that money to go to projects that encourage smart growth, the use of public transit, and a better environment for pedestrians. The Costco project does none of these things. I understand that Costco will bring in more retail job positions to Wheaton and will certainly help spur more business at the mall, but I don't think it's the kind of project that warrants getting taxpayer money to make it happen. As Marc Elrich was quoted as saying in the article, "Westfield Mall has gazillions of dollars...They're going to make a freaking fortune on Costco". Well said. This project is going to make plenty of money on its own merits. It doesn't need a handout from taxpayers to 'balance the numbers' and make it happen.
Other postings I've done on Costco can be found here.