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Business and the Economy

Walmart Neighborhood Market Near Downtown One Step Closer to a Reality

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/walmart-neighborhood-market-near-downtown-one-step-closer-reality_53178.mp3

Springfield’s Planning and Zoning Commission has given a green light for a new WalMart Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Grand Street. As KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports, the plan still needs City Council’s approval.

WalMart’s original rezoning request to build the new supermarket was turned down because there was concern about child safety in the neighborhood, and the impact that WalMart traffic would have on nearby streets, especially Normal Street.

Mike MacPherson is the principal planner for the city's planning and development.

“So, WalMart responded to that by offering to close the street to through traffic from the WalMart Store. [Drivers] won’t be able to exit out of that Normal Street exit and go West on Normal any longer. It’s a neighborhood protection thing,” MacPherson said.

The store is proposing to add a raised concrete island in the center of Normal St., just west of the proposed WalMart entrance.

Just down the road, on South Street, is the Bistro Market, which is run by Price Cutter. Erick Taylor, the CEO of Price Cutter, told City Council that the new WalMart would devastate the small supermarket nearby. A spokeswoman for Taylor’s office said he could not comment today, but would hold a press conference on the matter next week.

WalMart already has four Neighborhood Markets in Springfield:  on Republic, Glenstone, W. Mount Vernon, and El Camino Alto Drive, near The Library Center.  If approved, this would be its fifth.

The approval of the rezoning request will go to City Council for a vote next month.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.