Crowley’s new Walmart Supercenter will be a 147,695-square-foot building on a 22.21-acre lot that includes 731 parking spaces, according to the revised site plan approved by the Crowley City Council last Thursday night.
The plan for the store at the split of FM 1187 and Main Street — the address is 1221 E. FM 1187 — amended from a site plan approved in 2007, passed by a 6-0 vote, with Councilman Johnny Shotwell absent. It is contingent on approval of a replat needed to reinstate a sidewalk on the Main Street side that had been removed from the 2007 plan.
“Construction will begin in the first or second quarter of 2011, depending on TxDOT permitting and those types of things,” said Chris Biggers, program manager and principal of Dunaway Associates, a consultant working with Walmart on the project. “Construction will take about a year.”
The Texas Department of Transportation will have to approve entry/exit points for traffic, because FM 1187 and Business 1187 — which is what Main Street is designated after Rendon-Crowley Road meets it — are state-maintained highways.
The site plan calls for three “right in, right out” access points from FM 1187 — meaning traffic could only enter from and exit to the westbound lanes of the highway — and two full access entry points from Main Street. One of those would be, basically, an extension of Centennial Place, while the other would allow a cut-through from Rendon-Crowley Road.
The latter access point, which could allow cut-throughs from the parking lot of the Fort Worth First Church of the Nazarene, evoked concern from Councilwoman Tina Pace.
“There’s a lot of turn-in traffic (from Rendon-Crowley Road); a lot of people come from that direction,” Pace said. “I’m concerned with left turns, you’ve got traffic coming at you and it could be a problem. The people who live there know how it can be, and I also know how people act when they’re going to Walmart.
Biggers responded that Dunaway and Walmart are working with TxDOT on traffic matters.
“We are preparing a (traffic impact analysis),” Biggers said. “We did one in 2007, but traffic counts have grown since then. We’re working with TxDOT to see what we can get by with, whether it might have to be a right in, right out.”
If so, the only way shoppers trying to go to Walmart from eastbound FM 1187 would be to turn left at Main Street and curve around to the northernmost access point.
“We are also working with TxDOT to see if they will allow Walmart to install a traffic signal at 1187 and Main Street,” Biggers said.
New Walmarts often draw critics, and the Crowley plans are no exception.
“I’ve lived in Crowley since 1972, and I’ve read articles about Walmart and some of their tactics,” said resident Dana Futch, who lives about a half-mile from the planned store. “Be sure you get your tax assessments up front. Walmart’s traditional tactic is to come in and say, ‘We need a tax break.’ Also, if they don’t get a traffic signal, watch out. It will be a blockade all the way back to (Interstate) 35.”
The site plan lists five outparcels that Walmart plans to sell, Biggers said. The largest parcel, 14 acres to the west of the planned store, could become a strip center. Other sections, 4.1, 2.5, 1.5 and 1.1 acres, respectively, could be gas stations/convenience stores, fast food pads, banks or sit-down restaurants, among other things.
The store itself is near the Main Street portion of the lot, though the front faces FM 1187 behind 680 of the 731 planned parking spaces.
Mayor Billy Davis and councilmen Jerry Beck, Jesse Johnson, Jim Hirth and Beau Yarborough joined Pace in voting for the site plan.
For full story, check out the October 28 edition of the Crowley Star. To receive current hometown news everyday, subscribe on this website by clicking the My Star link on the the left or by calling: 817-295-0486.
By DAVE SORTER