April 25, 2012 — Things could be getting serious concerning the possibility of Walmart coming to Grayson.
After several months of rumors, the City of Grayson, representatives of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and local business owners met last Wednesday for a preliminary discussion of how the city could handle the arrival of the retail giant, particularly the inevitable increase in traffic.
Mayor George Steele said he asked the local business owners to help brainstorm a traffic plan if Walmart does come to town.
A proposal to install a traffic light on Carol Malone Boulevard in the vicinity of McDonald’s was met with an expression of concern that delays at the light might discourage customers.
Several other ideas and suggestions were discussed but no firm plans evolved from the meeting.
Far from being finalized or even officially acknowledged by Walmart corporate, a Grayson Walmart Supercenter seems to be moving from the rumor stage to a real possibility.
Steele said he felt that Walmart could help bring not just jobs to the community but could also be a significant attraction for other businesses to follow and make a home in the community.
"I realize that some oppose the thought of a Walmart in our town," Steele said. "First, we already have problems with Carol Malone Boulevard that we need to sort out and we are trying to solve those with the state’s help.”
The mayor said spinoff from a Walmart store could include restaurants and other retailers who are known to follow the big retailer into new markets.
Steele said Walmart and the other new businesses would create badly-needed jobs in the area.
“You want to do two things when you talk about new businesses,” he said. “You want to provide a service and you want to create jobs. We currently have double-digit unemployment in Carter County and I see this project as an opportunity to boost the entire economy of not just Grayson, but the entire county."
The centerpiece of the meeting turned out to be a drawing that Walmart or someone acting on its behalf supplied to Steele that marks a path to and from the proposed store site.
Said to be planned to overlook I-64 near the Grayson interchange, a Walmart store at that location would be among a few such stores visible from the interstate in this part of Kentucky.
As the meeting ended, Steele said he believes Walmart is more serious about locating in Grayson than when the subject was discussed several years ago.
The company’s closest location is 15 miles east of Grayson at Cannonsburg in Boyd County.
“I think it is a definite possibility that we could see Walmart set up shop in our community," Steele concluded.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.