Future Walmart near Oriental faces challenges
A Walmart planned to be built on the outskirts of Oriental is facing a challenge or two.
The first is getting water service from the town. The second is garnering the support of the Oriental community.
In a special meeting with the Oriental Town of Commissioners, members voted down the resolution to offer Walmart water services without annexation.
Commissioner Larry Summers said the committee wants Walmart to either become annexed. or pay Oriental the equivalent property tax revenue before the town considers providing water services.
The Walmart Express is planned to break ground on Highway 55, beside the neighborhood Dollar General. In order for the Walmart to get up and running, it’ll need water services. Which is why the big box store is trying to strike a deal with Oriental.
The town has the only water line that runs near where Walmart wants to open up. The alternative would be for the popular chain to request water services from Pamlico County. Board members say that could be very costly.
Small business owners in Oriental, like Maggie Monk, don't think Walmart coincides with the pre-existing small town culture.
"The stores out here are neighbors," Monk said. "It's a small base. We try to respect each other as businesses and honor one another without overlapping, so everyone can share a little bit of the base that's here."
Monk owns Pigeon Holes on Broad Street. She's fearful the big retail giant will threaten small businesses.
"Walmart as the corporation that it is, is ordering quantities that no small business can compete with. And that's anywhere in our country. Not to mention this small town," Monk said.
Some residents in Oriental are on the fence about the store coming.
"I like to see choices for many different kinds of people," said Rosemary Miner of Oriental. "On the other hand, I hate to see the past history of mom and pop stores wiped out and competing with Walmart."
In the special town meeting on Friday, the Town of Commissioners assigned a committee to work on creating a Walmart water service agreement.
There’s no definite date of when the town’s decision will be made.
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