March planned, petitions signed in support of west Louisville Walmart
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some worry arguments over the design of a future west Louisville Walmart could doom the plans altogether, but other say they are working to ensure it happens.
"We've come to take a stand for the support of the Walmart project in west Louisville," said Reverend Clay Calloway.
He's calling for a change that's expected to bring in 300 new jobs to Louisville's California neighborhood.
"The west end has been neglected far too long," Calloway said.
He and others gathered outside the old Phillip Morris site Monday afternoon, asking for a transformation on West Broadway where 18th Street becomes Dixie Highway.
"The need for Walmart is obvious," he said.
Calloway has organized the "Correct the Neglect March", urging Louisville's planning commission to approve the project next Thursday. He's calling on thousands of people who signed a petition to attend the meeting on Jan. 29 showing the commission they're ready for a west end revival.
"This is the third time that Walmart has come to the table with this site, and the third time is a charm," said Calloway.
A Walmart spokesman says the company is still discussing input from a city meeting last month.
Walmart officials have already agreed to add a walkway, sidewalks and a rain garden.
“This is an important project because it will take a vacant property and turn it into a place for area residents to find the affordable groceries and other items they need in what is still a tough economic environment,” said Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz. “The project will also offer the opportunity for hundreds of people to find employment and build careers.”
According to the big box store's website, the two closest Walmart Supercenters are in Indiana -- more than five miles away. Those we spoke with near the proposed site say they usually shop at the one in Shively which is nearly eight miles away.
"Sometimes it's inconvenient because of the weather and the time of day so this would be the ideal spot," said Eleanor Phifer who works at a church in the area.
Walmart is requesting waivers from city requirements that say the building must be 50 percent windows along West Broadway and Dixie, have customer entrances facing that same side and that parking cannot be in front of the building.
"We don't want something as small as a microscopically insignificant design change to be the reason for them to walk away from this project," said Calloway.
Some in the Russell Neighborhood would like to see the store closer to Broadway.
Others need a closer option, no matter the design.
"It would create an atmosphere that is not here and it would actually give this corner a facelift," said Phifer.
Walmart will send its Public Affairs Director, Kevin Thompson to the Planning and Zoning meeting on the Jan. 29.
The company is still discussing the input it received at the Dec. 19 meeting.
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