CREATED Aug. 9, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Plans to build a 154,000 square-foot WalMart Supercenter in now-vacant Summerlin Square Plaza are one step closer to fruition with Lee County Zoning Division deciding to move forward with the project after a public hearing this morning. But, not everyone is happy about the proposal.
Chris Tremblay, owner of Guts and Glory Tackle shop, fears WalMart would shut down her business.
"They sell everything cheaper than what we can sell it for," Tremblay said. "They sell stuff for what we have to buy it for."
Tremblay has started a petition with signatures from customers and other nearby business owners who oppose the project.
"We just don't need it," she said.
But, some residents said they are eager to see the plaza no longer vacant and welcome the addition of Walmart to the neighborhood.
"I think it'd be great and it'd be convenient because you figure there's nothing here but Publix, which there's nothing wrong with Publix, but WalMart is so much easier... you can go and get everything at one time," said Debbie Scott, who lives just blocks from the plaza.
The Lee County Hearings Examiner will make recommendations on the project before it heads to the Board of County Commissioners for a vote. Joan Laguardia, Communications Manager for Lee County Community Development Department, said the project would stimulate the local economy.
"This is breathing new life into a dark, shopping center and we expect to see some jobs from it and more commerce in the community," she said.
The plaza has been vacant since May 2012 when Winn-Dixie closed.