FLORENCE — The City Council will consider a resolution in a called meeting Thursday to allocate $210,000 for traffic signals associated with the construction of a second Wal-Mart in Florence, and that has the leader a of citizens group that opposed the new store angry.
“I couldn’t believe what I was reading this morning,” said Coy Bramlett, referring to coverage of the City Council’s Tuesday meeting in the TimesDaily.
“This was not in the agreement. The agreement was they would pay for all the traffic changes required by (the state) and the city,” he said. “Wal-Mart’s the biggest business in the world. They can afford the traffic signal installation.”
The council was asked by a developer of the project during its Tuesday work session to consider paying the signal installation. Scott McGee, of MAP Development, they are spending $200,000 to pave the access road from the south parking lot to Cox Creek Parkway and are adding curbs and gutters, which meets city subdivision specifications. He said the original agreement did not require curbs and gutters, but it was decided that would make the remaining property more desirable for development.
Councilman Sam Pendleton said the city has paid for infrastructure in other projects, particularly around Home Depot on Seville Street, with the promise of more retail development to come. He said he will support the request.
Council President James Barnhart said during Tuesday’s meeting the city will ask the Alabama Department of Transportation to pick up some of the cost, too, if the resolution is adopted.
Bramlett, who ran for a City Council seat but lost the runoff to Blake Edwards, along with dozens of people who live near the site of the Wal-Mart off Cloverdale Road, succeeded in getting major traffic and road changes built into the company’s plan before it was approved by city officials. Among their concerns were dangerous intersections made worse by the increased traffic around the store. The state agreed with many of their concerns and required several intersection safety enhancements.