Havre Daily News
The Hill County commissioners will get their first look this week at plans for a possible Wal-Mart store west of Havre, county planner Clay Vincent said today.
Vincent said he was contacted by a representative from CLC Associates, the Colorado-based engineering firm that Wal-Mart has hired to look at the property, to set up a meeting for Tuesday. He was told Wal-Mart will send its own representative.
A Wal-Mart representative first confirmed in March that the company is considering opening a store near Havre.
Surveyors with CLC Associates have concentrated their efforts on a plot of land 500 feet west of Kmart, Vincent said. He has been fielding questions from CLC about water and sewer services for a 15-acre parcel owned by Meissner Tractors Inc., but has not seen any plans for a building there.
"That's where they've been surveying," he said. "That's where we've been dealing with the surveyors and the engineers on the property and looking at site layouts."
Ron Harmon, the local businessman who is working on the deal, said today that he hasn't heard anything new lately from the real estate company, Frontera Development Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., that contacted him about the 15-acre parcel. Harmon has an agreement with Meissner to have the land transferred back to his name.
What the commissioners will see Tuesday is a preview of what plans for the store might be, Vincent said.
"The engineers in the past have not talked about the building and what it's going to look like inside," Vincent said. "Tomorrow there should be a representative from Wal-Mart to talk about what the inside would look like."
The possibility of a Wal-Mart moving to Havre has stirred controversy. Some community members have expressed excitement at the idea of a Wal-Mart in Havre and say the competition may prompt local business owners to lower prices and improve service.
Others are concerned that a Wal-Mart store could have a detrimental effect on downtown businesses.
Havre City Council members Emily Mayer-Lossing and Pam Hillery have advocated that Havre business owners prepare ahead of time for the coming of Wal-Mart by revitalizing the downtown area so that it can capitalize from shoppers who come to Havre to stop at Wal-Mart.
Council member Terry Schend has proposed that the city annex the parts of Hill County that receive city water and sewer service, including the area west of town that includes Kmart and the land where Wal-Mart is considering building a new store. He said that would help support all of the city's services, not just water and sewer. The Hill County Commission has generally supported the idea of annexation.
Tuesday's meeting will be held in the Hill County Commission's office in the County Courthouse at 9 a.m.