Residents voice opposition to supercenter

Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 6:23 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 12:00 a.m.
Many of the 100 or so residents who packed a meeting room Tuesday night to learn about plans for a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter were skeptical, if not outright hostile, towards the idea of placing the megastore at a wooded intersection in northwest Gainesville.
"It seems to me you couldn't pick a poorer area to build a development," said Brian McNab, who lives on NW 19th Street, near the proposed supercenter site at the intersection of NW 13th Street and NW 53rd Avenue.
He said that the land was prone to flooding, was a source of Hogtown Creek and also was home to a variety of wildlife.
McNab and others in the standing-room only crowd at Trinity United Methodist Church said they were worried about the traffic, the noise and the environmental damage the 192,000-square-foot store and supermarket would generate.
Wal-Mart wants to build a supercenter that would anchor a 94-acre development of stores, restaurants and homes at the intersection. If plans for the supercenter are approved, it would close its store located two miles south on NW 13th Street.
Wal-Mart representatives told the group plans for the supercenter are tentative. But if all goes as planned, the store could open in 2 years.
Not all residents were opposed to the supercenter.
Janet Mercer said she and her mother, who live together in Brittany Estates off Waldo Road, live on a fixed income and drive to Ocala's Wal-Mart supercenter once a month to make purchases they can't afford in Gainesville.
"If it weren't for Wal-Mart in Ocala, I don't know what . . . we would do. We would starve to death," she said.
Ashley Rowland can be reached at 374-5095 or

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