East Albany Walmart moves ahead - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

East Albany Walmart moves ahead

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A project that's been years in the making, to give east Albany a boost, is finally making some progress you can see.

Construction roads are being put in and land clearing could begin as soon as next month. This project is more than just bringing a retail store to East Albany. It's bringing jobs, hundreds of them, to the community when unemployment is the highest it's been in years.

Heavy equipment is on site, a mobile command office was put in place today. It's the type of stirring of dust, Mayor Willie Adams is happy to see.  "Well, I'm just excited. I'm about as excited as a kid in a candy store."

Excited that a Superstore and more are coming to East Albany.  "As you know, we've had some moments where there were some doubts and now that we see the dirt is being moved and things are being torn down, we expect great things to happen."

Things like more jobs, and more tax dollars for Albany and Dougherty County. County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard is happy, too. "We can expect anywhere from 200 to 500 jobs depending on the number of stores that open and the number of outparcels that are sold."

As of last month, 60% of the outparcels, stores that will be on the same piece of property, were already leased. By the time Walmart is complete, leaders hope all will be filled.

"It's what we need right now," said Economic Development President Ted Clem. "We need jobs. Our unemployment rate is at a very high level right now, so there are a lot of people who need employment and these are the type of jobs that could help give us a shot in the arm right now."

Giving a boost to East Albany and removing some of the tax burden from the people who live in Dougherty County. 

"All of these are generating more tax dollars and revenues which to me is critically important. The tax base has suffered, our taxpayers are suffering. The only way to reduce taxes or maintain them is to increase the coffers through new business and new employees," said Sinyard.

Both of which are finally on their way to East Albany.

Expectations are that site construction will get underway in earnest next month and that the project should be complete and Walmart open by next Spring. Another plus to the East Albany Walmart is the blight that once existed at the site has been removed.

A mobile home park plagued with drugs, violence and prostitution was torn down to make room for the development.

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