January 19, 2005

Classic Concerns about WM Supercenter Impact in Rural Area

Kathy Wagstaff of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relates the concerns of local residents (rr) as WM and others sully pristine wilderness with shopping options:

When Jack and Mary Ann Lockaby moved their family to Cherokee County in 1975, Eagle Drive was a dirt road, and children could run through the woods to Lake Allatoona without seeing a house or a person.

Thirty years later, the Lockabys, along with son Keith, are still living in a small house near the corner of Bells Ferry Road on Eagle Drive. Instead of being surrounded by trees and solitude, the family is surrounded by bulldozers, surveyors and sewer lines.

"Some people call this progress," said Keith Lockaby, 44. "But I don't know."

The "progress" promises a change in the way people live, work and drive in south Cherokee. A transformation has begun at the intersection of Ga. 205 and Eagle Drive with a new 30-acre, 211,461 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The store is scheduled to open Wednesday and will employ about 450 people. It includes a grocery, retail shop and automobile center.

Posted by Kevin at 11:03 AM

Putting Affordable Housing Next to WM?

Many residents complain when a Wal-Mart moves near them, but Wal-Mart doesn't complain when new residences are built next door:

A developer with plans to build 49 townhomes across the highway from Wal-Mart...

The Overlook project is located on a 6-acre parcel of land on the east side of U.S. Highway 550/160 south of town, across from Wal-Mart...

Emil Wanatka, an agent for Tarpon West LLC, hopes to build on the success of the Parkside Terrace townhome project in South Durango by offering reasonably priced housing close to downtown.

"We see this as providing good-quality attainable housing to people who can live close-in to the amenities of Durango where existing infrastructure is already in place," he said.

Wanatka hopes to price the two- and three-bedroom units starting at $225,000. The fourth quarter median selling price for townhomes in Durango was $259,000.

If built, the Overlook would be a residential project in a sea of commercial buildings....

There is a pedestrian crosswalk at the Wal-Mart intersection, and sidewalks along the frontage road to the Overlook property, Wanatka said. He believes the project's location is an asset.

"The Wal-Mart center provides a great amenity - there are restaurants, an eye doctor, groceries, a liquor store, a movie-rental business ... and with improvements to State Highway 3 and the frontage road, access to town is very convenient," he said.

Posted by Kevin at 10:54 AM