The Woodstock City Council unanimously approved the developer’s plans to demolish the old Wal-Mart building and move forward with construction on the wholesale store Sam’s Club.
Patti Hart, planner for Woodstock’s Community Development Department, said the developer plans to tear down the old Wal-Mart building and construct a new building on the Main Street front.
Jennifer Blackburn, representing the developer of Sam’s Club, said the new business would bring 150 jobs to the city and bring the building “back to life.”
Blackburn said construction should begin in October, with a completion date set for September 2015.
The approved plan calls for less parking spaces than the former Wal-Mart had, Hart added, and includes a pedestrian walkway through the parking lot, as well as a 10-foot-wide sidewalk along Main Street.
Sam’s Club is also planning to construct a fuel station for members of the wholesale club across the parking lot from the store.
Traffic studies showed no need for renovating the entrances to the shopping center, and Director of Public Works Pat Flood agreed.
Nobody spoke during the public comment portion of the agenda item, but a few council members shared their opinions on plans for the new store.
Councilman Chris Casdia said he thought there was a missed opportunity to have some sort of historic mural on the large wall that Sam’s Club plans to have facing Main Street.
“This is a gateway. You’ve got two gateways into downtown … I’m not an artist. I’m not creative enough to tell you what should go on there, but I think there’s an opportunity for an artist with a sense of the history of Woodstock,” Casdia said. “I think we’re missing an opportunity.”
Councilwoman Tessa Basford said Sam’s Club developers did a “nice job” on the design submitted for the wall face, which includes design features with multiple facade materials.
Casdia made a motion to approve the Sam’s Club plans, with Councilman Bob Mueller seconding the motion that passed unanimously.