Walmart readies response to Waldo residents' concerns - KCTV5

Walmart readies response to Waldo residents' concerns

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Walmart has prepared its response to Waldo area residents and their concerns about a neighborhood market opening at a closed Kansas City School District campus.

Walmart wants to tear down the old Bingham school near 77th Street and Wornall Road and build a neighborhood market.

Supporters believe it will spur economic development.

But some residents have concerns, including hours of operation, noise and traffic. Some outright oppose the sale and want a community center built instead.

"I think it'll be a detriment to the neighborhood. I think they'll put all the mom and pop businesses out of business, and it'll cause a lot of congestion and we don't need any more than we already got," said Laura Stevenson.

Many weren't appeased by Walmart's promises.

"I'm totally opposed to any kind of retail that impacts the traffic the way that a grocery would," Don Reck said.

The school district has not made a decision on whether to sell the school and land to Walmart. A spokeswoman says they will consider all feedback from residents and the neighborhood association before the board reaches a decision.

Others said the store would crush area mom and pop stores.

But Chuck Eberle said he would like to see the store in the neighborhood.

"I feel that they've been indoctrinated. I may not shop there, but I think they deserve the chance to come in if they do all the improvements," Eberle said.

The Walmart plan for a grocery store came after a bid from Hen House fell through.

The Hen House proposal brought less agitation but similar concerns about traffic, access and proximity to homes, all issues the repurposing team was working to resolve when Hen House flew the coop.

The east edge of the site is lined with single family homes, but much of the plot is smack in the middle of a commercial corridor, giving it an appeal and dollar value that other vacant Kansas City Public Schools properties don't have.

Some residents want the building turned into a community center or want it to turned into a park or sports field.

The district says they are faced with a balancing act by being responsible to the community nearby and to the bottom line. The district still owns bonds on the building, which requires that the district get the best price possible for the building and land.

"We do have some restrictions about the sale of buildings. They are all serving as collateral for bonds and as such we can't sell for less than fair market value," a district official said earlier this year.

Walmart is still working to address the concerns with the most recent revision to the proposal and the possibility of more.

The Kansas City School District is still in the process of hearing comments and concerns before cutting a final deal.

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