New developments in Heights Walmart battle

August 9, 2011 4:54:20 AM PDT
New details are coming out about the shopping complex being built in the Heights in which Walmart will be the anchor store. But the opposition to it isn't dying down.

Ground already has been broken off Yale and Koehler just off Heights Boulevard, but when nearby homeowners found out that Mayor Annise Parker was going to be speaking to their neighborhood on Monday night, they organized to let her know that they're anything but pleased with this neighborhood project.

The event gave homeowners opposing new 23-acre development, in which Walmart is the anchor store, a chance to take their complaints straight to the top.

"I don't think they understand exactly what goes into, once that is established. I mean, it drives away local businesses," Heights resident Leticia Ablaza said.

Increased traffic, along with outdated infrastructure, also are a concern.

"I think we've got a bridge just on the south side of I-10, which is load weighted for about 40,000 pounds and when you start having traffic building up on that bridge, you're going to have a lot of people stuck 'cause that's a huge public safety hazard," Heights resident Rob Task said.

Mayor Parker says streets will be widened to accommodate the extra traffic and the bridge in question is being reviewed.

"Looking at whether we need to do upgrades to that bridge has little to do with the development that we discussed and has much to do with the fact that we believe that there's going to be an increasing amount of traffic coming through," Parker said.

The development will include other shops, boutiques and restaurants that are intended to reflect the Heights' small-town feel.

"We are not opposed to development. Development is a good thing. If it creates jobs and does the right thing for the area, that's great. We just want it to be done responsibly," Task said.

As those concerns are being considered, this project is set to open in the fall of 2012.

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