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.