Neighbors pressing for Walmart to build more than a big box in W - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Neighbors pressing for Walmart to build more than a big box in West Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The debate continues over the new Walmart store to be built in West Louisville. Some are pushing for the store to be more than just a big box.

The city is spending nearly $2 million to bring Walmart to the old Philip Morris site at 18th and Broadway. But some believe, when it comes to the store's design, that the city should be getting more for its money.

According to a plan submitted by Walmart to Metro Planning and Design, the West Louisville Supercenter would be of the same design as Walmart's suburban stores, with a massive parking lot out front. But some neighborhood activists believe Walmart can do better.

"West Louisville is still an urban neighborhood, and that particular corner is a very urban corner. We need to preserve the style of that corner," said Haven Harrington, president of the Russell Neighborhood Association.

They want the urban design that Walmart has used in other cities, such as Washington D.C., with the entrance closer to the curb.

"When you have that dense urban neighborhood, kind of like you have here with 4th Street Live!, where everything comes to the curb, it's walkable. That keeps the block alive, and it keeps it energetic," said Harrington.

But others believe Walmart's look is less important than the jobs the store will bring.

"I'm not that concerned about the design of it. The only thing I'm concerned about is Walmart coming here as quickly as possible," said Ruben Pulliam of the Justice Resource Center.

A spokesperson for Planning and Design says the Walmart project is still under staff review, and that it's premature to comment on the store's possible design.

Walmart would not comment on the issue either.

"I don't want them to keep bickering over this and that, and then Walmart says, 'We'll just pull up and go somewhere else,'" said Pulliam.

"They can can prove here that, yes, it can be done and we can do it well, integrate well with the neighborhood, and we can be a great partner with the neighbors," said Harrington.

The Russell Neighborhood Association and others are holding a public meeting to discuss the Walmart controversy this Friday night at West Chestnut Street Baptist Church.

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