Lemoore's Super Walmart is almost a reality

LEMOORE, California

A vacant piece of property off Highway 41 and Bush Street could soon be home to a new /*Walmart*/.

Over the last several weeks Walmart officials have been mailing out flyers to Lemoore residents, hoping to gain support for their latest project.

Amelia McLear with Walmart said, "We are committed to working with Lemoore and making sure the project we bring forward is the right fit for the community."

Walmart says the 200-thousand square foot project will bring roughly 300 jobs and city officials estimate it could bring in about $500 thousand in sales tax revenue.

"In Lemoore's case we're a sales tax poor community," said Lemoore City Manager, Jeff Briltz. "We receive about $1.5 million of sales tax a year."

The land is already zoned for a large commercial store. In fact Walmart originally planned to come to Lemoore back in 2003 but when the economy started slowing down, the project came to a standstill. Now, it looks like the company is ready to proceed with the plans.

Walmart has already purchased this land near West Hills College. Officials are hoping to build a Super Walmart that includes a full grocery store.

The news has angered the owner of Best Buy Markets, who thinks the big box store will make it hard for his business to compete. Other residents in Lemoore agree.

Mary Lou Barerra said, "I'm not in favor for Walmart to be in Lemoore because it is a small town and besides there's a lot of merchants that will be affected especially Kmart, Save Mart, and all the small merchants around."

While there are places to shop in Lemoore, other residents complain they often find themselves driving to the Walmart in Hanford to get their shopping done. They're thrilled to hear a Super Walmart is coming to town.

Tiffany Castro said, "I think it'd be great it'd be more business because right now we only have Kmart so it'd be better for us instead of having to drive all the way to Hanford."

Public hearings are scheduled for this summer. If the plans are approved the Walmart could open in Lemoore within two years.

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