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Walmart Eyeing Another Memorial Drive Location

Announcement at Memorial Drive Public Safety Plan meeting to be followed today with details from the world's largest retailer. Monday's gathering continued a dialogue between police, elected officials, county agencies, residents and businesses.

Walmart may be interested in setting up another big store on Memorial Drive.

The announcement that the world's largest retailer has approved a potential location along the corridor was made during the Memorial Drive Public Safety Plan meeting Monday night.

Details about the spot that Walmart is eyeing and its plans are expected today, said District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, who said the giant gave its blessing to mention its interest during the meeting, attended by about 40 people at the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. She offered one hint about the possible location: it's a shopping center in need of renovation, and not far from the location of the church in Stone Mountain.

The public will have a chance to weigh in as the issue moves forward.

Walmart's Supercenter store on Memorial Drive in Decatur opened three years ago.

The latest news came during a meeting in which officials said county agencies are working more collaboratively and effectively than in the past on issues such as crime, code and zoning, and promoting economic development; and where residents voiced their concerns and need for help in combating trespassers from blighted apartment complexes, residential break-ins, and big rigs parking overnight on private business property along the corridor.

Among the speakers were Sutton; assistant chief M.P. Yarbrough, uniform division commander, DeKalb Police; district attorney Robert James; Andrew Baker, interim director, Planning and Sustainability; and Michelle Menifee, interim director, Office of Economic Development.

During the question and answer period, Sutton encouraged email communication with her office so she could forward issues to the proper department. Residents who have been seeking answers to questions of crime and code violations asked to be kept abreast of where their issues would be routed.

The police said there was little its department could do in terms of moving the rigs off private property, but suggested that businesses contract with a wrecker service to tow away the trucks. As for people jumping fences and walking through residential areas, fence ownership needed to be established, for example.

Reducing crime is just one step in rejuvenating an area, Yarbrough said during his talk at the start of the meeting about the department's improved strategy.

"If you rid your community of crime and the perception thereof, businesses will come, businesses will stay and communities will follow," Yarbrough said, adding that a significant community effort is necessary to "plant the seed" of positive change.

In the past, agencies typically worked in their own silos rather than more collaboratively. "We've not been working together in a strategic fashion and you as citizens deserve better," said District Attorney Robert James. He also said it's important for communities to become organized to be most effective.

Baker, the interim Planning and Sustainability director, said strides have been made to take down code-violating signs, but with only 20 code officers in a county of 700,000 residents, the department can use more help.

"We need business associations, volunteer ambassadors to work with us," he said. There will be citizen training at an upcoming neighborhood summit.

CCollier September 13, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Too bad it is not a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods! I would love to be able to have other choices besides Walmart. It would be great to have some revitalization on Memorial Drive! It is really sad to see all of the closed stores and empty unmaintained lots. Our property values all around Stone Mountain have decreased and no one seems to be working to hard on helping us make a recovery!
Leslie Johnson September 13, 2011 at 11:51 PM
CCollier - Maybe those stores will find a home on Memorial Drive someday!
Just My Thoughts September 19, 2011 at 09:49 PM
Memorial Drive "NEEDS" a Wal-Mart, Target, T.J. Max, Marshalls, Ross, Khol's, Old Navy, Toy R US, LA Fitness, Curves, Lifetime Fitness Center, Quik-Trip, Lowes, Movie Theater, Dave and Busters and more restuarants, etc...
Msgoff October 24, 2011 at 05:37 PM
I am probably "preaching to the choir," meaning the persons who behave in this manner are probably not reading this. I do not think the people in our neighborhoods know and accept the correlation between a business being successful and remaining in our neighborhood and the behavior of the people who shop there. I just could not believe my eyes whenever I walked into a/an A.J. Wright store!! The store would often look as if someone had deliberately "trashed" it; especially after being open for a few hours. I would see shoppers open packages, drop clothing, etc. on the floor; and don't forget about shoplifting. This affects the price we pay for merchandise and determines if that company can afford to continue to do business in our neighborhood. We must do better, behave better, if we want businesses in our neighborhood(s). The same goes for the way we "trash" homes and rental properties!
Msgoff October 24, 2011 at 05:48 PM
My opinion: This is an inappropriate, derogatory and inflammatory statement and this is not the place for it. If you have issue with Commissioner Barnes you should take it to the appropriate place and not make an effort to belittle her in this column. Why do "the people" continue to elect her if she is not working in their best interest? I remember reading a negative article about a public official, and wondered why people would continue to vote for her/him; however, several years later I had an issue for which this same official gave me direction and I was able to resolve the problem. We had never met, yet he/she was very helpful to me. I had spoken to many politicians, and others, and everyone would tell me that there was something that I was not doing right. Let's work together to make our communities a better place and stop trying to "drag" each other down. BTW, I onlyrecognize Commissioner Barnes when I see her; I do not know her personally or work for her, just in case someone may WONDER.

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