A spokesperson for the City of Tampa confirmed Wednesday that Walmart is considering moving into the Seminole Heights community, igniting a debate among neighbors over the potential new resident.
The major retailer is looking into setting up shop at the site of the old Chevrolet dealership on East Hillsborough Avenue, which has been vacant for years. Debi Johnson, President of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, said the group is keeping an open mind about the idea.
"If you look at the property itself, you can see that it desperately needs to be developed into something a little more aesthetically appealing," Johnson said. "We just want to make sure that if they do come into our neighborhood, they do it right and that they're a good neighbor."
Although no decision is imminent, we're told Walmart has already laid the groundwork, applying for and receiving permission from the city to build driveways along some of the side roads.
Johnson said while she's hopeful the retailer could help revitalize the area, she does have concerns.
"Walmart has a reputation of putting the mom and pop shops out of business," she said, adding she's also worried about increased traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The news brought mixed reviews from neighbors.
"I don't know that we need another Walmart around here," said Dave Bullard, who feels there are other Walmarts close enough to Seminole Heights already.
Other residents, meanwhile, said the positives far outweigh the negatives.
"I think it would bring a lot of business and put a lot of people to work in this community," said Deedrick Daniels, who lives nearby. "I would like to see something there soon."
A city spokesperson said Walmart's plan is only in its beginnings stages, and no final decision has been made. Our calls to the retailer were not returned.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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