Council OKs Wal-Mart supercenter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Wal-Mart will begin building their Albert Lea superstore in early December, according to company representatives Darcy Winter and Tim Keane.

&uot;We are anxious to get in the ground,&uot; said Keane. &uot;We are ready to go. We’d like to beat the weather and get as much done in autumn as possible.&uot;

Monday night the city council passed resolutions allowing the project to go ahead.

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The council approved a development agreement with Wal-Mart. The infrastructure project will cost $2.6 million, of which the city will pay $200,000. Assessments, both deferred and non-deferred, will equal $400,000, to be paid by the private properties in the area of the project who will benefit from the infrastructure improvements. Wal-Mart will pay the remaining $2 million.

The council also authorized contractor Bolton and Menk to design the infrastructure for the project.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter is expected to open on Aug. 3, 2003. Winter said the store will be an &uot;all-service store&uot; which will have a gas station, an automotive service station and lube center and &uot;everything you’d expect from a department store,&uot; as well as groceries, and possibly a bank and other financial services.

Other council resolutions:

– The city will donate two lots on Pearl Street to Habitat for Humanity, for the purposes of the charity building housing for the less fortunate.

The charity already has a lot in the area, and will be building a house on each of those three lots, according to city manager Paul Sparks.

– The city denied a request from the county for the city to pay for sanitary sewer improvements on Pearl Street where courthouse construction will soon happen.

Councilman Ron Sorenson made the motion to deny the request, citing double taxation on citizens for a county project.

&uot;I don’t think my constituents should have to pay double for a county project. They already pay their county taxes. The city paying for this would mean they’d be double taxed for the same project,&uot; said Sorenson.

– A $165,000 loan was approved by the city with 6-1 vote. The loan will go to a local startup company for equipment. The city says the company cannot be named at this time, but will be opening in the near future.

The company will create new jobs, though the council did not know how many at this time. Councilor George Marin cast the dissenting vote, saying he didn’t have enough information about the proposal.