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East Albany Walmart closer to reality

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

September 8, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - East Albany's a step closer to getting a Walmart store.

The Payroll Development Authority finalized a deal Monday to reimburse the developer for road improvements and entrances and exits to the property at the corner of Clark Avenue and Cordele Road.

That road work hasn't been done yet, but this clears the way, and the store is expected to open in the spring of 2010.

Walmart is expected to close the deal on that property in the next six months. Construction and operation of the store could create as many as 500 jobs, but east side business owners say it's the promise of what else Walmart may bring that has them excited.

When the Georgian Mobile Estates closed Errol Markland lost business at The Cyber Connection. The promise of a Walmart on the property however has been welcome news for many east side business owners who are anxious for construction to begin.

"The east side definitely needs some place like Walmart, they definitely do," said Markland.

Monday's approval by the Payroll Development Authority is the final step needed to funnel about $800,000 in road improvement incentives to Wal-mart.

"The tax rolls that Walmart will bring to the community will more than compensate any expenses that we have," said Robert McKinney of The Payroll Development Authority.

Walmart is expected to generate as much as 3.3 million in tax dollars for the community, but it will also generate new business, just look at Ledo Road.

"If you'll go look at the Walmart now for instance you'll see other entities around it and that's exactly what happens to Walmarts," said McKinney.

With plenty of property around the proposed site with for sale signs on them, it's what many east side businesses are counting on and waiting patiently for.

"As a computer repair service center they will be looking to us as neighbors to take care of their computer needs, provide other services as well," said Markland.

Business owners say they also expect crime in the area to drop as a result of the new store because of increased traffic and additional police patrols that the new store will likely bring.

The $800,000 will only be paid to the developer when the store gains their certificate of occupancy. Walmart currently has 136 stores statewide.

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