FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Fayetteville residents are divided on a plan to build a Walmart Neighborhood Market along Martin Luther King Boulevard between Hill Avenue and School Avenue in south Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville City Council said it has been involved in the discussion with Walmart and residents living near the proposed location for the store.
“We understand that the city has thoughts on how they want this property to be developed,” said Erica Jones, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “We feel that this site plan that we have proposed is kind of a nice meeting in the middle.”
After hearing from Fayetteville residents, the city council asked Walmart to make the design of the property more eco-friendly, and welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.
“We noticed that this is a very pedestrian area, with a lot of people on bicycles,” Jones said. “So, we wanted to make it accessible to all of these customers as well.”
The Walmart Neighborhood Market property will have free amenities for cyclists, Jones said.
“People that come to the store on their bikes can put air in their tires, and do little bike repairs,” she said.
One of the major setbacks in Walmart's plan is where the company wants to put the store on the property, according to the city council.
“All the research shows that if a building is close to a street, and close to the sidewalk, folks feel protected,” said Adella Gray, Fayetteville Alderman for ward one. “And, they`ll be more [likely] to walk to that area.”
But in proposed renderings, the Walmart Neighborhood Market is further away from the street with a parking lot in front of it.
The nearest Wal-Mart is nearly 15 minutes away from the proposed location.
“I think it would help [the neighborhood,] because I know I don`t like having to drive 15 minutes down the road, just to go get some cake supplies. I [could] just go right up here and get it,” said Brian Jones, who lives in the area.
Jones has severe asthma, and gets his medication from Walmart.
“Being 15 minutes away, sometimes that cuts it really,really close,” Jones said. “If there is [a Walmart] right [by my house], my life is spared just a little bit longer.”
Brian Jones’ neighbor, Brian Lennox, opposes the plan.
“It might be a convenient idea, but it really just concerns me with how many kids we have around here and the traffic already,” Lennox said. “I just hope they’re smart enough to look at their surroundings, and see what’s in their environment before they go ahead and try and put in a store.”
The Fayetteville City Council is expected to vote on the Walmart proposal on December 16. Alderman Gray is encouraging residents to attend the meeting to voice their opinions about the plan before the vote.