Tempers flare at meeting over proposed Meijer store

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By Kendall Downing

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Neighbors have questions--lots of them--about a new Meijer store slated to go in right along one of the busiest streets in central Indiana.

North side residents gave an engineer an earful Wednesday night, saying they don't want their neighborhood disrupted by the big-box retailer.

The room at the Glendale Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library was packed to the brim. Residents did not get many solid answers Wednesday evening, because nobody from Meijer was at the meeting to talk.

"I'm very concerned about the safety of pedestrians and commuter safety," said Kerry Bender, who lives near the proposed store.

Meijer has two entrances drawn up for its nearly 193,000-square-foot store at the corner of Keystone Avenue and East 56th Street.

Neighbors like Robin Bridges could see the 56th Street entrance from her front door. She lives across the street.

"I won't want to come in my front yard if the traffic is in front of my house. What does it do for my property value?" asked Bridges. "I have a young child. I want her to be able to ride her bike on this street."

Neighbors got word of the development weeks ago. It got attention fast because some land Meijer wants, like a piece of property where an apartment building sits, would have to be rezoned.

Wednesday night dozens of residents packed the Glendale Library branch for a standing-room-only meeting.

Nobody from Meijer was at the meeting to speak. Instead, a civil engineer working as a consultant with the company presented plans and attempted to gather concerns.

Neighbors grew restless, worried their streets will become downright dangerous.

"What the heck are you going to do with all the traffic coming down from Kessler to make a quick entrance to your store?" one man emphatically asked.

Engineers stressed the project is still in an early stage, and Meijer could back out.

People like Kerry Bender believe it all comes down to street safety.

"It's our neighborhood. We all have a vested interest in our residence," she said.

FOX59 reached out to a Meijer spokesperson on Wednesday afternoon to ask why nobody from the company was there for the meeting. There was no reply.

The zoning request will be heard by the city in late October.