The annexation/rezoning ordinance was approved for the property located directly across from the current Wal-Mart at U.S. 27 North, northwest of Davis Road.
Construction could still begin as early as April, said City Manager James Stephens, once Wal-Mart has applied for building permits.
Commissioners opened the March 14 meeting, by hearing from David Kirk, an attorney with the Atlanta law firm Troutman and Sanders speaking on behalf of Wal-Mart.
Kirk discussed with commissioners and the approximately 20 residents in attendance what he called the “site development issues” of “transportation” and “landscaping.”
According to Kirk, transportation improvements around the site of the Wal-Mart Super Center were decided to be a top priority after meetings with the Cedartown Planning Commission and conversations with the city staff.
He explained that a road construction project to be conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently scheduled over a 30-month period and set to begin sometime this fall.
According to Kirk, the Wal-Mart Super Center will open well ahead of the completion of the DOT road construction.
“The current timeline would have Wal-Mart opening up in late summer of next year,” Kirk said.
In an attempt to ease traffic woes around the site once the new Super Center opens, Kirk stated that Wal-Mart would themselves fund several road improvements through coordination with the DOT. Included in these improvements, Kirk said, will be an extending of the left turning lane at the current signaled intersection.
“The intent is to provide initial improvements needed for the Super Center and to allow a smooth transition,” he said.
Dual left turning lanes in the northbound lane of Highway 27, Kirk said, will be added as part of the DOT’s project.
Additionally, Kirk also stated that the Super Center will employ 200 additional workers and that current Cedartown Wal-Mart employees would simply be transferred to the new store.
Kirk said he expects local sales tax revenues, which are estimated to be $750,000 a year, to be boosted directly by the new Wal-Mart.
“We anticipate that the local sales tax revenue would approximately double,” he said.
Only one Cedartown resident, who identified himself as Tommy Ingram, chose to respond to Kirk’s remarks, choosing to simply ask the attorney questions rather than make a statement of his own.
The focus of Ingram’s questions were on the negative impact the Super Center could have on current, locally owned businesses.
“How many stores will close as a result of the opening of Wal-Mart?,” Ingram asked.
Kirk responded by stating that while local jobs are often a concern of community’s getting a Super Center, the result is not often what most expect.
“The location of a Wal-Mart usually serves as an economic development agent,” he said. Though, he said “It does force local businesses who have been overcharging perhaps to be more competitive.”
After the public hearing, the commission unanimously approved the annexation ordinance.
Monday’s meeting marked the second reading of the ordinance and saw the return of Commissioner Bobby Alexander, who had missed the last several meetings as he recovered from heart surgery.
The approval of the ordinance comes after months of rumors about the possibility of a Wal-Mart Super Center coming to Cedartown. Wal-Mart had originally applied for annexation in January.
The 150,000 square foot Super Center will sit on 23 of the approximate 37 acres and offer traditional features unique to Wal-Mart Super Centers, such as a grocery store, one-hour photo center and hair salon and be open 24-hours a day.