EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCounty Officials Say They're Not Interested In Walmart Offer To Build At Coonskin Park
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Oct. 16, 2013 6:20 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 16, 2013 6:56 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
West Virginia's largest private employer wants to open a new store in Kanawha County, but the land they want has county officials saying 'absolutely not.'
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Caper said Walmart contacted them recently interested in buying property at Coonskin Park to build a supercenter.
Yuliyan Stoyanov and his son frequent Coonskin. He said the offer is ridiculous.
"It's basically the only place in Charleston where we can come and Theodore can play," he said. "I'm sure there are so many other spaces that would actually benefit from building something like that there."
County officials said Walmart wants to add a fourth store in Kanawha County, and they want it on the northern end of the county. Carper said the corporation offered them $2 million for a portion of the land. The store would be 150,000 square feet, and employ 300 people.
"I thought it was April Fools come early," Kanawha County Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said. He questions the legality of selling the land because of federal dollars that are invested in some of the park buildings.
Officials said it also jeopardizes the future of the 130th Airlift Wing.
"We're trying to protect this National Guard base, and that's 79-80 million dollars a year and the fire service for the airport and that's crucial to the citizens of Kanawha County, and really in the state," Hutchinson said.
Federal officials are threatening to shut down the 130th unless public access to it, and the Army and Air Force National guard facilities is cut off. Plans to build a bridge providing new access to the park are underway.
"This would put that on a slow, slow, slow crawl," Carper said.
"We are open for business but we're not open for putting a department store in the middle of a park," Carper said.
Walmart representatives did not return a call for comment.
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