Greenwood residents vow to fight Walmart plans for new store

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There's another neighborhood fight brewing against the Walmart giant. This time, it's a battle the people of Center Grove thought they fought and won nearly ten years ago. Now Walmart is  back with new plans and a smaller store.

Arkansas-based Walmart is looking at a lot just off the intersection of Smith Valley Rd. and State Road 135. But even though their plans have changed, neighbors still voice the same complaints.

Two families just closed on a nice, new duplex in the Shepherd's Grove subdivision about a week ago. Now, Walmart announces they want to build nearly in their backyard in an empty lot just behind their property. It's a move that has the whole neighborhood upset and back in familiar territory.

"I'll be looking at the back, the garbage, the semi delivery, the lights," said Ruth Hansen, who lives next to the proposed site.

Hansen knows the fight. It happened nearly ten years ago when the retail chain proposed a store on the same site behind the Shepherds Grove subdivision. Neighbors banded together, fought back and won. Now, the giant is back with a smaller model to fit the existing plot.

"I was livid. I was absolutely upset. I am not a Walmart shopper. I don't go to Walmart," said Hansen.

The store would be about 50,000 square feet smaller than Walmart's other two stores in the county.

"It's discouraging. It really is. Despite what some people say. No one wants a Walmart in their backyard," said Bud Martin, who lives next to the proposed site.

Hansen and her neighbor, Bud Martin, spearheaded the efforts then for the same reasons they're fighting back - again.

"The concern is lighting, how much light will come over, noise, the garbage trucks. The semis are going to come right over to the back door," said Hansen.

Another concern is traffic. This is already a busy area with plenty of retail and a lot of activity. Throw another big box store into the mix and the volume will only increase.

"We need turn lanes, right in, right out only. People are now trying to cross two to three lanes to get to Target and Home Depot. We need better infrastructure and roads," said Hansen.

The biggest issue is parking. In order to meet city guidelines, Walmart would have to put some of their spaces behind the building and that would put them right up against the Shepherd's Grove neighborhood.

"We've been told there's no chance we'll win and there's nothing we can do and they're putting it in all the rules of the zoning and planning," said Hansen.

Walmart has asked for a waiver to allow them to have fewer parking spaces than the city requires, eliminating the need to put those spots in the back. The planning commission will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday to consider the request.

See the agenda here.

Walmart hopes to begin construction in the spring.