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Walmart clearing final hurdle

Army Corps approval expected in days

September 17, 2010
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The final approval needed for the advancement of the Walmart Supercenter is only days away, and construction likely will start soon, city officials said.

Approval from the Army Corps of Engineers is expected, said Mayor Dayton King. It's the last approval needed before Walmart can close the purchase deal for the land and then begin construction.

King said Thursday the application before the Army Corps of Engineers has been sent to the corps' New York City office, indicating approval is likely. He said Walmart officials hope to close the land-purchase deal by Sept. 29. Construction can begin shortly after.

Fulton County Planning Department Director Jim Mraz said this morning that sending the application to the corps' New York City office is the last step before receiving approval. He said it's likely the plan will be approved by the corps' main office.

"Most of the work done by the Army Corps is done here at the regional level," he said. "They have issued a draft permit, and now it goes off to the main office for approval. It's the last step on their part."

Mraz said once Walmart officials are sure they have approval, they can complete the land-purchase deal and then seek contractors for the construction work. It's unclear how long it may take to begin construction, but Mraz said he expects it to start before the end of the year.

Fact Box

Gradual progress

Here are highlights of the Walmart Supercenter plan's progress:

2004: Walmart approaches Gloversville with proposal.

Late 2006: City Planning Board receives plans from Walmart.

November 2009: Walmart threatens to kill project after city of Johnstown refuses to extend water and sewer services to site.

December 2009: Gloversville and town of Johnstown agrees to annex property into Gloversville, eliminating need for city of Johnstown approval.

February 2010: Gloversville Planning Board approves environmental impact and findings statements.

June 2010: Gloversville and town of Johnstown finalize annexation.

August 2010: Walmart receives most of the approvals from state.

"These time frames will be better defined once the permit [from the Army Corps] is finalized," he said. "Once we have that, Walmart can turn around and pinpoint exact dates."

King said in an e-mail he hopes Walmart will have construction crews working day and night to build the new store. He said he plans to discuss the possibility of around-the-clock crews with Walmart officials and city code officials, who would need to issue special permits for night work.

King said he hopes to minimize the noise and disruption from any potential night construction. He said there are a few residences close to the proposed site.

"I'd like to do what we can to minimize the amount of noise the residents hear at night," he said. "Perhaps the construction crews work near the residences during the day and as far away as they can at night."

King added he's excited to see that the project is moving forward and construction seems near.

"I'm excited to see the paperwork portion of this process come to an end," King said in an e-mail. "It's hard to believe that the construction of this project will take about a 1/7th (one year vs. seven years) of the time as all of the approvals."

The supercenter would span 186,979 square feet along County Highway 128, which is South Kingsboro Avenue Extension, and Hales Mills Road. The store is expected to employ about 200 people. Walmart would close its smaller store on Fifth Avenue Extension in the town of Johnstown.



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