Proposed new Walmart in Merrill facing opposition - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Proposed new Walmart in Merrill facing opposition

Dozens of people voiced their opinion at a meeting in Merrill Tuesday night, many of them opposed to a proposed Walmart Super-Center.

The company wants to purchase 25 acres of land near the intersection of state highway 64 and highway 51, across the street from the current Walmart location.

Carolyn Householder attended the meeting and told Newsline 9 building a new Super-Center is a bad idea. 

"When I heard that it was coming to Merrill, I was very upset," she said.

The company wants to purchase the vacant land from Park City Credit Union and build a 120,000 square foot building. Officials said the old store across the street would then be sold.

Walmart officials at Tuesday's meeting wouldn't say why they want to build a bigger store in Merrill, but did say they are listening to the community's concerns.

"There's been changes to those site plans based on the feedback from the community," Walmart's land use attorney Nathan Wautier said.

People were not afraid to voice their opinions about the plan, some saying the store isn't needed and will do more harm than good.

"I think it's going to hurt the businesses that have been here a long time," Householder said.

Others offered a compromise to the current plan. 

"With Walmart turning the building just a little bit, we would be able to encourage more growth, so we could bring in more retail, more businesses, more restaurants," Merrill resident Lori Anderson-Malm said. She said the way the company has the potential store drawn up now will prevent other businesses from developing on the site.

Merrill Mayor Bill Bialecki said the Super-Center will spur economic growth, bring 100 to 120 jobs to the area.

But Walmart officials said the plan is still a work in progress.

"It's working through the process right now, getting feedback from the community, from city staff, from the plan commission and city council and based on all that feedback will depend on where the project goes," said Wautier.

City leaders plan to vote on a land use permit for the site next month.

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