For nearly five years, Indian Trail residents battled plans to construct a major supermarket in their neighborhood. Last week Yoke’s Pac ‘N Save Foods opened a new store at Indian Trail and Francis, the site of the battle. And everyone left the celebration happy.
Yoke’s officials say they learned early on to get neighborhood residents involved in planning the new 43,000-square foot store.
Residents say they gained strength by rallying together, halting an effort to build a much bigger Safeway store that would have had larger neighborhood impact.
“I’m reasonably content that Yoke’s tried to do a good job,” said Indian Trail resident Mamie Picard, who opposed the first effort to build a 55,000-square foot store at the Indian Trail Plaza.
“Yoke’s people did listen to us, and what came out was a good compromise.”
Like others, Picard is glad to have a good supermarket in the neighborhood. “I know a lot of people missed the store when they closed it last fall,” she said.
Yoke’s, after the battles the Safeway proposal launched, decided to work with Indian Trail residents to plan the store, said James Clanton, Yoke’s chief financial officer.
“Where the store is sited, facing north, and putting the loading docks on Indian Trail, were both the result of what residents told us they wanted,” Clanton said.
With the completion of the new store, Yoke’s has no plans to enlarge it, Clanton said.
“We couldn’t even if we wanted to, it’s not able to grow any more,” he added.
Increased traffic generated by the store was the primary concern voiced by residents.
To ease access, city officials required Yoke’s to add a left-turn-only lane northbound on Indian Trail leading into the parking lot.
The grocery chain, which runs several stores in the Spokane area, also asked the city to install a traffic light at the corner of Holyoke and Indian Trail.
The city chose not to, for now. “Anything that could help access in or out of the center would be helpful,” said Clanton.
The traffic situation could become more serious in two years, say residents.
The mall’s owners, which include James S. Black Co. and others, plan to move two adjoining smaller businesses to an expanded, revamped shopping center at the north end of the existing mall.