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2nd big Wal-Mart planned

February 29, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

There are now plans to open two Wal-Mart Supercenters in Hagerstown.

Plans to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Edgewood Drive between Twigg Cycles and Funkstown were submitted to the Hagerstown Planning Department on Monday.

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Another one of the massive supermarket/general stores is under construction at the Centre at Hagerstown shopping plaza along U.S. 40 next to Interstate 81. That store probably will open in mid-June, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Daphne Davis, said Tuesday.

If built, the two new Wal-Marts would be about five miles apart. Plans are for both stores to be more than 200,000 square feet, which would put about 5 acres under one roof at each location.

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The existing Wal-Mart on Wesel Boulevard in Hagerstown, which is about half the size of the planned supercenters, will close when the Wal-Mart at the Centre opens, Davis said.

The two new stores each would have 500 to 600 employees, and all of the employees at the existing Hagerstown store will be transferred to the store at the Centre, she said.

Davis said the company determined Hagerstown could support two supercenters based on population growth and population density.

"We're talking about the type of shopping that serves everyday needs," Davis said. "I'm sure there are grocery stores with more than one (Hagerstown) location."

The Wal-Mart along Edgewood Drive would anchor a 31.5-acre development that would include a 30,260-square-foot building for retail stores, two spaces for future commercial development, three storm-water management ponds and 1,200 parking spaces, according to plans submitted to the city Planning Department.

The developers would also build a new road along the property line next to Twigg Cycles, according to the plans. The road will go to the end of their property line and head to Hebb Road, but will not connect to Hebb Road. The road may be extended to Hebb Road as part of a future development, said Matt Davis, a city planner.

Plans for the Edgewood Drive development are being considered by state, county and city engineering and roads departments. The plan has to be approved by the Hagerstown Planning Commission before the developers can apply for a building permit.

A spokeswoman for the developers, Aiken, S.C.-based Wyatt Development Co., said they are waiting for plan approval before setting a target opening date for the Wal-Mart.

Davis said at the earliest the Planning Commission could review the plan is March 29.

He said the impact on traffic along Edgewood Drive and in the surrounding area will probably be a major issue.

A traffic study paid for by the development company proposes widening parts of Edgewood Drive in front of the site to make room for turn lanes. The study also recommends installing a new traffic signal on Edgewood Drive at one of two proposed entrances for the development.

City Engineer Bruce Johnston said it is too early to say if any other road or intersection improvements may be required.

Road improvements would be paid for by the developer, Johnston said.

City Council members voted in November to change the property's zoning from residential to commercial.

Prior to the vote, some council members and several people who live near the site of the proposed development expressed concerns about the increased traffic that would accompany further development along Edgewood Drive.

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