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Harrisburg Reacts To Walmart News

May 2, 2012, 5:57 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Harrisburg Reacts To Walmart News

Harrisburg officials say Walmart's proposed south-side location affects business development in their city.

"We've actually reinitiated our strategic planning committee and they're taking a real hard look at what the residents of Harrisburg want," incoming Harrisburg Mayor Julie Bowen said.

Harrisburg's incoming mayor says other retailers had been exploring the area, but threatened to change those plans if Walmart built at 69th Street and Cliff Avenue. That's why she mobilized with other city leaders, asking the retailer to consider Harrisburg over Sioux Falls.

"We looked at this site," Walmart real estate manager Brian Cutting said.  "We looked at sites to the south; we looked at sites to the southwest. We looked all around the region, knowing with the volume of our two stores, we needed a third store to serve our customers."

"I'm sure there's a plan B and plan C. And we want to be part of plan B or C," Bowen said.

According to Bowen, even if that would happen, the store would likely end up built north of the current city but within Harrisburg's city limits. City officials have already picked up the phone to initiate a conversation about a potential move. But even if the retailer ends up in another part of town away from the busy intersection it prefers, the good news in Harrisburg is that Walmart may no longer threaten other growth plans to fill needs here.

"I looked at it as a, 'Not right now.' Because any business can always say no. You can go through 100 businesses that say no. And you gotta keep looking for the one that will say yes, and keep asking," Bowen said.

Walmart could still make plans to build in the area. If it did move forward at 69th Street and Cliff Avenue, the city council would have to approve a special permit.

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