Hazel Green Walmart plan met with mixed, passionate response - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hazel Green Walmart plan met with mixed, passionate response

Community members learned more about Walmart's plans to open up in Hazel Green by the end of 2014. Community members learned more about Walmart's plans to open up in Hazel Green by the end of 2014.

When Walmart comes knocking, people are usually of two minds – excited and welcoming of the big-box retailer, or staunchly opposed. Madison County leaders are celebrating an unusual move by the company.

Unlike the several Walmarts in area cities, the new Supercenter will be built in unincorporated Madison County at the corner of Highway 231/431 at Charity Lane, something county leaders said means a bonanza of jobs, development, and new tax revenues.

"It'll be a good windfall for the county schools. It's a win-win, I think," said Commissioner Roger Jones.

Darrell Long, Principal of Hazel Green High School, said the Madison County school system, in general, is underfunded in terms of tax dollars. "The money generated from a Walmart in the Madison County area will be huge, not just for Hazel Green, but the whole school system," he said.

"Any time a business can locate out in the county to help in bringing in revenue, it does help us plan and do more things for students," added Madison County School Board member David Vess.

Resident Kristin Stone said she's thrilled at the prospect of a new Walmart, to be built in Hazel Green. "You don't have to go to Fayetteville to go to Walmart. We usually have to go to Fayetteville or you have to go to Huntsville," she said.

Some locals have sounded off against the idea on the Hazel Green Facebook page. Others in the area have expressed concern about the future for Hazel Green's longtime, locally-owned supermarket, Griner's Foodland.

Crystal Mauran, another community member, said she has heard from some who moved to Hazel Green for the small-town country life that don't want Walmart coming in. "I will embrace it," she said. "I wish it was sooner than December."

"I don't know if I'll like the traffic," said Stone, "but I think it will be a good thing."

Construction is expected to begin in three weeks. Walmart plans to have the Hazel Green Supercenter completed by December.

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