Sioux Falls is taking the first steps down the path to bringing not one, but two new Walmart stores to the city. Plans include one on the northwest side of town near 60th Street and Marion Road. The second store looks to bridge the gap between Sioux Falls and Harrisburg at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue. But what to current residents think about the new neighbors?
"When we moved here there was not nearly as many houses, no streetlights, it was a lot more scarier how dark it was." Said Dale Henning.
Henning has called this neighborhood home for the past seven years, but he's not too sure about the potential neighbors down the street.
"We expected growth and development but we weren't expecting a major shopping center like on Louise Avenue and 41st Street to be right within a stones throw from our house." Said Henning.
Dale's voice isn't the only one speaking up about the proposed Walmart at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue. Saturday saw one of the largest turnouts for Mayor Huether's listening and learning sessions. As dozens of homeowners came to hear the city's plan for their backyards.
"Why right there? That's kind of the big question. Does it have to be right there right by the single-family houses?" Asked Henning.
Several issues were brought up at the meeting but the main concern that homeowners had was what impact on traffic Walmart would have being right next door.
"I'm not so against Walmart it's the access and the traffic concerns. Within the two block area here there's at least 80 children." Said concerned homeowner Sean Randall.
Traffic along 85th and Minnesota is bound to increase regardless of whether or not Walmart sets up shop. But Mayor Huether pledged to do everything he can to protect the interests of the people who built here first. For homeowners, they just hope their voices and claims aren't overlooked for the one with the bigger and flashier name.
"Oh yeah we're always optimistic!" Said Randall.
"I just hope us residents and the staff and mayor and everybody can come to a common ground and I'm sure there's a solution we're just not sure at this point what the solution is." Said Henning.
Several homeowners said they were happy that Mayor Huether and his staff stayed well after the meeting to talk directly with people who still had questions. The next step in this process is annexation of the land south of 85th Street. If the council deems it necessary they could vote to annex as early as this Tuesday.