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Bossier residents bristle at new Walmart

Local residents are speaking out against a proposed development in north Bossier, saying they don’t want a new super center in their backyard.

The Bossier City Council voted on Sept. 1 to annex just over 99 acres on Airline Drive north at Wemple Road. That location is said to be the proposed site of a new Wal-Mart super center.

Residents in that corridor are calling it “an unnecessary development” and have started an online petition against it. The Change.org petition, called “Stop Super Walmart in North Bossier Without Giving Residents A Chance To Speak!!”, has received substantial backing, gathering more than 750 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Those who have signed say the new store “would greatly intensify an already congested traffic problem” on Airline Drive. Another says the store will impact neighborhoods in “a negative way with increased crime, traffic, child safety, and overall appearance.”

Residents also say the store will lower property value and “would take away from the beauty and cleanliness of the community.”

Then there’s the question of what will happen to the store just down the road. Pam Glorioso, project coordinator for the City of Bossier City, said the 99 acres were annexed into the city as a result of “knowing that Wal-Mart has looked at this property to build a new super center on.”

The whole goal of annexing the property, though, is to protect the Bossier City tax base.

“The land was originally not in the city limits and had they shut down the existing store, the city would lose millions of dollars in sales tax,” Glorioso explained. “Being proactive, they annexed the property into the city.”

That’s about where plans for the proposed development stop.

“We are assuming that Wal-Mart is buying this property,” Glorioso said. “At this point, the property will have to be rezoned. There has been no permit application taken out at this point. Until we have an application, there’s really nothing we can discuss about this project. We don’t have anything at this point. The land has not been sold. That’s between the owner of the property and Wal-Mart. We are only doing this as a precaution to protect our tax base.”

Glorioso did refer the Bossier Press-Tribune to the Bossier Metropolitan Planning Commission’s office for further information. However, Sam Marsiglia, Director of the Bossier Metropolitan Planning Commission, was not available for an interview before the BPT’s publication deadline on Sept. 4.

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