Archive for Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Bonner city council to vote on Wal-Mart

August 9, 2000

Later this month, the Bonner Springs City Council will take action on the city's planning commission approval of the construction of a Wal-Mart Super Center.

Last week, after more than a year and a half of working with Wal-Mart, and after one site change, the Bonner Springs planning commission unanimously approved the zoning change, site plan and preliminary and final plats for the store.

The city council will consider the plans at its Aug. 21 meeting. That meeting starts 7:30 p.m. at Bonner Springs High School.

If approved, construction on the $15 million Super Center would begin this fall, said Dan Denk, Kansas City, Kan., who represents Wal-Mart.

"Most of the planning is done," Denk said. "The final plans are being approved during this process, and I think Wal-Mart is ready to get started as soon as a building permit could be issued."

Weldon Padgett, city manager, said if the council approves the new store, it will be constructed near the southeast corner of Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7, across the highway from the existing Wal-Mart.

The Super Center would encompass 160,000 square feet. The number of employees needed to run the store would increase from the current 125 to about 325.

With predicted first-year sales of operation projected at $38 million, the new store could generate about $380,000 in sales tax revenue for the city, Padgett said. This is about twice what the current Wal-Mart brings in.

Other financial impacts of the Super Center would be an increase in water, sewer and franchise revenues for the city.

Potential drawbacks of the construction of the new store would reflect the near-constant debate along the K-7 corridor traffic flow.

"The looming question about the KDOT/K-7 project is what's potentially going to happen," Padgett said. "One of the plans of that project called for Nettleton Avenue to extend all the way up to Kansas Avenue," Padgett said.

If this went through, it would be something of a reverse frontage road that would run behind the Wal-Mart property.

"It's one of the unknowns that if it occurs will be very helpful to the traffic flow in this area, where people could get around without having to use K-7," Padgett said.

Another potential drawback is that there has been some opposition to construction of the new Wal-Mart Super Center, which would be only 10 miles away from a new Super Center under construction on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

"There are a lot of mixed emotions," Padgett said. "I think it depends on the person's perspective, or if they own a business."

The city of Bonner Springs encompasses 18 square miles and has a population of about 7,100. Padgett sees the area as a natural draw for big business.

"I consider us as a service hub, so to speak, because in portions of Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Johnson counties there aren't other shopping opportunities," Padgett said. "It's easier to come here to shop if you're in Basehor or Tonganoxie. If business develops here, then it brings people in from outside our community and it brings in new money."

In regard to the opposition that has been expressed by some Bonner Springs residents, Padgett said the businesses and corporations make marketing decisions themselves.

"The city's only here to make certain that development occurs following our guidelines," Padgett said.

"The city's not in a position to say, 'Oh gee, we don't need another hamburger joint.' We're not in that business. Actually, it's not our business."

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