LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - When Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer first confirmed in March that Walmart would be setting up shop at the former Phillip Morris Plant property, Haven Harrington supported the plan.
"I was kind of excited to see that it was going to get a major retailer west of 9th Street," said Harrington, president of the Concerned Association of Russell Residents.
Three months later, Harrington now worries about the retail giant's design.
"My concern at this point is that we get a Walmart designed with the neighborhood in mind," said Harrington.
With the area at Dixie Highway and West Broadway prone to heavy foot and wheel traffic, Harrington said employing an urban design with a storefront closer to the street would better serve the area.
"For residents of west Louisville," began Harrington, "30 percent in that census track don't even own a car. So it's very advantageous to have the Walmart come to the sidewalk that's very easy to get to. That Walmart is also on the most used bus line in the city of Louisville as well."
When asked about design plans, Anne Hatfield, Walmart director of communications, responded:
"Walmart submitted a site plan to the city that includes a variance request not uncommon with retail projects across the country. We look forward to working with the city on a mutually agreeable store plan that provides a convenient, efficient shopping experience for our customers and meets the needs of the California community. Once the site plan is finalized, we can begin establishing timelines for construction and grand opening."
Meanwhile, Jessica Wethington, spokeswoman for Louisville Code and Regulations, declined to talk about urban design requirements saying in writing, "it would be inappropriate to comment because the project is still in the design phase."
While the city would not comment, officials did provide the most recent design plan.
"The original plan just had a parking lot," said Harrington.
While Harrington said developers had budged somewhat by adding a walkway to the store design, he said he would like to see more changes implemented.
"Have all the parking in the rear," said Harrington. "There's several Walmarts that already have that design aesthetic."
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