08/18/10 8:53pm

More evidence that Walmart is now in full campaign mode as it pushes for public support to build what the company is now calling its Central Houston location: Residents of the Heights, Timbergrove Manor, and many other nearby areas have reported receiving a small slick brochure in the mail touting the benefits of the proposed “custom-designed” store at Koehler and Yale in the West End. The mailer asks recipients to send in an attached postcard indicating their support for the project — and asks them if they’d be willing to contact city council members and other “city leaders” as well. The mailer is identified as coming from Friends of Walmart, an organization with a 77270 Houston P.O. box address. But the website link featured on the brochure, WalmartHouston.com, is clearly a project of Walmart itself. That website follows the same format as others the company has set up (see the Chicago and Baltimore equivalents) to campaign for public support or approvals necessary to build urban stores in other major cities.

The ad copy uses some form of the term “community” 10 times. Also worth noting: The Friends of Walmart mailer describes the proposed West End site — formerly home to Trinity Industries’ steel fabrication plant — as “an unused piece of property that is much in need of remediation.” But the brochure doesn’t specify what remediation Walmart — or Ainbinder Company, the project’s developer — plans to complete before construction begins. The Walmart Houston website makes no mention of any possibly toxic materials lying in wait at the former plant.