New Garden Township Board approves plan for new Wal-mart

posted Thu, Jan 26, 2012

By Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

The Community News

October 12, 2011

New Garden Township, PA- More than 100 concerned New Garden Township citizens attended the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday night- a meeting which lasted well past midnight.

Residents argued with the board and representatives from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust about the final stages of their commercial development project, which has been in the works since 2001. The project has been in the pipeline for quite sometime and drew such a large crowd for one of the major portions of the project: the construction of a new Wal-Mart.

The proposed development consists of 460,525 square feet of commercial/retail use south of Newport-Gap Pike. It also includes roadway improvements for Newport-Gap Pike, Sunny Dell Road, Sheehan Road, Sharp Road and the Limestone Road interchange. This project received initial approvals in 2008.

Greg Adelman, a representative for PREIT, said that the project was put on hold shortly after that approval due to the sluggish economy. Monday’s proposal included modifications to the plan, namely the modest reduction in the size of several buildings.

Adelman stated that the presence of Wal-Mart would boost the economy.

“Wal-Mart is the best economic engineer we can have, and is the best suited tenant for this project,” Adelman said, which resulted in sneers and jeers from the crowd.

Citizens were determined to express their opposition to the impending project, citing traffic and increased crime concerns as well as their desire for higher-end shopping.

Mike Donovan, a member of the Friends of New Garden Township, spoke to the board about traffic. According to the board, a traffic impact study was done by an engineer from PREIT, and was approved by PennDOT. By law, PREIT is not required to complete another at this time.

Kim Anderson, also a New Garden Township resident, thought the project would resemble the Exton Mall, with higher-end retail shopping.

“Our income levels are high, and a Wal-Mart is not what we needed,” Anderson said. “This is not the image we needed for our community.”

Herbert Blackwelder, Jr. a retired Land Use Planner for New Castle County, was the only resident who spoke in favor of the project.

“This project complies with all county regulations,” Blackwelder said. “Tenants will line up when the Wal-Mart comes in.”

The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the next stage of development, which could break ground as early as December of this year.

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For more information, please visit the Friends of New Garden website.

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