Wal-Mart Defeated in Ogden

Wal-Mart Defeated in Ogden

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Alex Cabrero Reporting Governor Huntsman signed a bill reducing the power of city re-development agencies. The Ogden RDA wanted to use eminent domain to bring a Wal-Mart to town. Now that's gone.

How often do protesters really get what they want?

Dorothy Littrell: “I am not going to sit by.”

That was Dorothy Litrell just last month. This is her today.

Dorothy Littrell: “I had goosebumps.”

You'd probably have them too if the group you helped start actually won a fight against your own city.

Ogden Protester: “It shows me that a small group can be very effective.”

Littrell couldn't tell you how many times her group stood outside and protested, only that their message was clear. A city shouldn't be allowed to use eminent domain to get rid of a neighborhood, just to make room for a private business like Wal-Mart.

Dorothy Littrell: “Eminent domain had its purpose for the purposes of government.”

But in this case, she says this Wal-Mart isn't for government purpose. So even though she lives in North Ogden, she bought property in the area Ogden wanted to get rid of so she could fight. Eventually she got Governor Huntsman's attention, which led to him signing yesterday's bill.

Matthew Godfrey, Mayor, Ogden: “It puts a real wrench in the plans for downtown revitalization.”

Ogden mayor Matthew Godfrey says hold on before you cheer for the little guys, realize what just happened.

Mayor Godfrey: “There is nothing you can do when you have an area that’s starting to deteriorate. We do not have a tool to remedy that situation.”

That tool being eminent domain, a power he feels should be for more than just roads and power lines.

Mayor Godfrey: "The legislature wanted to put more money into roads because of economic development. That the roads are critical for the economic development of the state, and it's okay to use eminent domain for roads, therefore aren't we using eminent domain for economic development?"

And economic development is what he feels his city would gain by using that power. Not anymore.

Mayor Godfrey: “With the gutting of RDA’s we don’t have the ability to move forward now.”

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