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New Walmart on hold?

City Council votes to de-annex land set for new Supercenter

The Bossier City Council has taken two steps back with its plan for a proposed Wal-Mart in north Bossier.

In a surprising turn of events, the city council voted to reverse the annexation of 99 acres on Wemple Road at Airline Drive, a decision they initially voted in favor of less than a month ago. The council was also one vote away from approving $3.6 million for the construction of streets, road and drainage improvements for the proposed development. However, that vote did not happen.

Instead, they offered an explanation as to why there is a sudden change of pace.

Bossier City Attorney Jimmy Hall said it’s because they have not received the official plans or paperwork from Wal-Mart for the site. David Montgomery, councilman at large, said the council also realizes there is cause for concern from the public and they want to take into account how residents feel.

Those against the development continue to voice their concerns. Kyle Sawyer, a life long resident of Bossier, lives near the proposed Wal-Mart site and spoke at the Sept. 15 meeting. He urged the city council to consider business quality, not quantity, in their decision making process.

“How many grocery stores do we need? Quantity does not generate quality of life,” Sawyer told the council. “I would much rather see this city council focus on high paying jobs. We have to generate higher paying jobs in order for this city to grow.”

Sawyer has lived in his current residence for nine years. He compared the building of a Wal-Mart to the building of a prison. Sawyer also said Old Brownlee Road and Wemple Road are just not designed to accommodate the influx in traffic.

“Nobody ever wants a Super Wal-Mart in their backyard. This isn’t a good thing for our community,” he said.

An online petition against the proposal has reached more than 1,600 signatures. The Change.org petition, called “Stop Super Walmart in North Bossier Without Giving Residents A Chance To Speak!!”, is addressed to the Bossier City Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Bossier City Council.

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

Should the city council decide to revisit the project, they will have to start the process over from the very beginning. The Bossier Metropolitan Planning Commission may discuss the project at its zoning meeting in November.

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