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Wal-Mart considers new store at Ogallala Tell North Platte what you think

Wal-Mart holds a purchase agreement for 40 acres of land in the southwest quadrant of the Interstate-80 junction at Ogallala.

Wal-Mart Public Affairs Senior Manager Ryan Horn said a Super Center store could become a reality by 2009, but nothing is definite yet.

The Ogallala Community Redevelopment Authority met Oct. 18 and entered into a memorandum of understanding with Wal-Mart over tax increment financing for the project, CRA director Marion Kroeker told The Keith County News.

From The Keith County News:

After a four-month delay, the Wal-Mart project at Ogallala appears to again be moving forward.

A memorandum of understanding between Wal-Mart and the Ogallala Community Redevelopment Authority allows Wal-Mart to give the CRA 60 days notice of its intent to proceed with the project.

The CRA would then deliver the formalized Tax Increment Financing contract within that 60-day period.

Wal-Mart is approved for $1.7 million in TIF funding to pay for the extension of Pony Express Road to the proposed store site, improvements to old Highway 61, and sewer and water extensions to the area.

“This project is what TIF was made for, to fund the installation of new infrastructure. This will save the city of Ogallala tens of thousands of dollars they would have to pay for services to the area,” Kroeker said.

TIF is an economic development tool that uses the increase in taxes generated by improvements to property in an area deemed blighted or substandard to pay for the improvements.

“TIF captures those taxes in between the current value and the improved value and allows us to use that as an economic development tool to pay for public infrastructure,” she said.

Kroeker said the memorandum of understanding allows Wal-Mart to proceed with the project and the store’s development.

“I think it’s a positive step toward getting a new business to locate in Ogallala,” Kroeker said.

Wal-Mart Public Affairs Senior Manager Ryan Horn said the next step is to continue with the planning of the $8 million, 100,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter.

This process includes the platting of the building on the land and any necessary rezoning of the land.

“Then, we’ll go through the planning process for site approval with the city,” Horn said. “We have to come up with a plan everyone agrees with.”

Horn said, once those plans are complete and agreed upon, a closing would occur on the property. Wal-Mart has a purchase agreement on a 40-acre tract of land in the southwest quadrant of the Interstate 80 junction.

Horn said he understands people’s anxiety and excitement when a Wal-Mart is planned for their community. The process often takes a long time, he said.

“A building like this has to be carefully planned so that it fits in the city and has minimal impact on the environment,” Horn said. “All of those issues combine to make a very complicated process that just takes time.”

Horn said, most often, the process to plan and build a Wal-Mart takes at least two years.

“Usually, its in excess of that,” he said.

Horn said the Ogallala store could be built and opened possibly as early as 2009 with a grand opening in 2010.

These dates are speculative, Horn said.

“They don’t really set up a very rigorous timeline until they’re finished with the city. Then, they’ll set a construction timeline that’s more rigorous,” he said.

The Wal-Mart public affairs senior manager said he believes the Ogallala Wal-Mart project will become a reality.

“It’s a complicated process, there’s no question. Time-lines can vary. There are so many issues on buying property and working with the city,” Horn said.

Horn complimented city and economic development representatives for working so well with Wal-Mart representatives.

“Ogallala has been a terrific city to work with,” he said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 10/23/2007
Copyright © 2007 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
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