Neighbors eye Wal-Mart project |

Neighbors eye Wal-Mart project

by Susie Vasquez

About 60 people studied layouts and talked among themselves late Thursday as they examined Wal-Mart’s plans for a new supercenter on the north end of Carson City.

Residents closest to the project voiced concerns ranging from traffic and air pollution to the prospect of another vacant parking lot in Carson City.

Hosted by Wal-Mart officials, the open house was at the Community Center’s Bonanza Room.

“We’ll be right behind the tire section, just 60 feet from a huge Wal-Mart,” said Penelope Smith. “This development will totally wipe out our view of the mountains. It shouldn’t be allowed so close to a residential district. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Located on the southeast corner of Hot Springs Road and College Parkway near an interchange of the freeway under construction, the site includes 20 of the 57 acres of the parcel. The store would include 36 general-merchandise departments and a full-service grocery and is 1.7 times larger than the store the company abandoned in South Carson when it moved into Douglas County.

Smith said the business makes good economic sense with respect to taxes and employment, but she bought her house two years ago and has invested heavily in its improvements.

“Right now, we couldn’t sell it for half of what we bought it for,” she said. “We knew retail was coming in, but we expected something small, much like the businesses already there.”

Smith said many of her neighbors on Ridgefield are upset, and some are thinking about moving.

“We’re going to the city planning meeting to fight for a sound wall and trees,” she said. “How else can I fight a huge company like that?”

Lisa Figueroa’s house backs up to the proposed store, and she’s concerned that a business failure could mean another empty parking lot. She would prefer a smaller-scale development, like outlet stores.

“I’m not sure I’m in favor of another Wal-Mart when we already have one in the area,” she said. “They’re building another shopping center in south Reno, and I don’t know if this new Wal-Mart will get the draw they’re hoping for.

“Carson City’s Kmart is a beautiful shopping center,” she said. “They didn’t make it.”

“Who will maintain the building if that happens?” Smith said. “If Carson City looks like a ghost town, it’ll ruin our city.”

Hazel Ball, who is retired and lives off College Parkway, said she’s looking forward to a shorter commute.

“We love to shop at Wal-Mart, but it’s harder for us,” she said, referring to the supercenter in north Douglas County. “We go early when there’s no traffic.”

Al Bernhard, who sold the property to Wal-Mart and owns smaller parcels nearby, said a lot of money is being spent by the company to accommodate its neighbors.

“They’re making sure all the concerns are answered,” he said.

A special-use permit is required for any building more than 50,000 square feet. The plan is scheduled to be reviewed by the Planning Commission Thursday. If approved, construction could start as early as this summer.

Contact Susie Vasquez at or 881-1212.