Alachua stalls on Wal-Mart decision


Published: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 12:31 a.m.
ALACHUA - The City Commission was trying to decide late Wednesday night whether to accept a revised application for a nearly $2 million grant from the governor's office for a road into the site of a Wal-Mart warehouse.
By 11 p.m., however, no decision had been made.
City Manager Clovis Watson said the city received a revised grant agreement earlier this week. He said the agreement, which includes extended dates for construction, was developed by the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development in partnership with Wal-Mart.
Susanne Darna, deputy director of the economic development office, said she could not comment on the project because Wal-Mart has requested confidentiality allowed by state law.
The updated agreement would have to be approved by the commission for the process to move forward, Watson said.
Before receiving the revised agreement, commissioners were to scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to withdraw its application for the grant because the deadlines that were originally set could not be met, Watson said.
Plans were announced last year for a Wal-Mart distribution center to be built off Peggy Road and County Road 235A.
Wal-Mart, which has has an option to buy the land from Waco Properties, received the commission's approval for the project last year after much debate. In July, the company announced it may not build the warehouse for at least five years, citing shaky economic conditions.
Watson wrote to Wal-Mart attorney John Sefton in December, asking to discuss the grant application with the company before a Feb. 1 deadline to sign and send the agreement to the governor's office.
Rachel Kipp can be reached at (352) 374-5086 or kippr@gvillesun.com.

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