New Tazewell, Tazewell vie for Walmart Supercenter

10:33 PM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
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After 23 years in the New Tazewell community, Walmart may be moving out.

New Tazewell Mayor Jerry Beeler says news of Walmart's pending relocation just miles up the road to the city of Tazewell caught them off-guard last year.

"We were devastated when we found out they were going to move," says Beeler.

Since then, he says they've tried to negotiate.

Of the city's $1.9 million annual operating budget, about $1 million comes from sales tax.

Of that $1 million, Beeler says Walmart shoppers contribute about 30%.

"The short term impact would be that we would have to maybe cut garbage pick up," said Beeler. "I'm a business man, I definitely know how to work a budget."

Beeler won't comment on the specifics of the discussions with the company, but in May the Board of Alderman authorized him to negotiate on the city's behalf.

But one city's loss, could mean another one's gain.

Tazewell City Administrator Diane Widner says Walmart contacted them about relocating last fall.

"They asked what would we think about it, and I assured them we would be fine with it," said Widner.

She says Walmart officials had a meeting with people from Tazewell last November and they identified a site and tested it for geological soundness.

She says the proposed area is an undeveloped lot on Highway 25E across from Welch Dr.

They also presented the city with tentative plans, but so far no definitive news.

"It's just hanging in limbo I guess," said Widner.

Beeler says the first tentative deadline for a decision was June 1st.

Three weeks later he says, they're still unsure of the future.

"If it happens to go to Tazewell, so be it," said Beeler. "We're just trying to keep what we have."

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