COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Construction and controversy surrounds the opening of the new Blackmon Road Neighborhood Walmart in Columbus.
The new Walmart is expected to open January 2016 and not everyone's happy about the new store. There's been some push back, at least on social media.
Last August a Facebook page called "Say No to Walmart on Blackmon Road" was created and now has more than 300 likes. Ben Billings of Billings Realty Investments and developer of the new Walmart on Blackmon Road says he is aware of the social media controversy surrounding his development.
"We had a community meeting," Billings said. "Our good councilmen Mr. Gary Allen made himself available. After the publication of the Facebook page, five people showed up."
Billings also stated that while all the attention is being placed on the new Walmart, there are 10-12 other commercial stores being built in the same debelopment.
"We've been approached by three or four assisted living facilities looking at this interchange," Billings said. "There's an awful lot gonna be going on here and Walmart is a very small piece of it."
With these developments comes an increase in traffic. Councilman Gary Allen says a roundabout rather than a traffic light has been approved to help with the congestion. This new Walmart will be in the area beside Georgia's Military College and across from Black Road Middle School and Grey Stone Apartments.
WalMart spokesperson Amanda Henneberg says the Neighborhood Market store gives customers access to a wide variety of affordable products, including a full grocery department, a drive-thru pharmacy and a gas station.
The developer is holding a meeting July 8 at Georgia Military College from 6-8 p.m. to discuss rezoning for Warm Springs Road but Billings says he is willing to discuss concerns about the new Walmart.
In the future Billings Realty Investments will also attempt to rezone the lot across from Georgia Military college, from state residential to commercial in hopes of building a hardware store.