Walmart pulls plug on Raytown grocery store plan

RAYTOWN, Mo. - The city of Raytown says a controversial retail project will likely never be built. Walmart hoped to build a grocery store near the city's downtown area, but the plan was met with a lot of opposition.

Raytown public information officer Brenda Gustafson said Walmart's local Realtor notified the city early Friday afternoon it will abandon the plan. Gustafson said official notification is expected in the coming days.

The plan has created controversy since it was first announced last fall. Raytown has been trying to revitalize its downtown for years, and many people believed a Walmart Neighborhood Market would hinder that vision.

Walmart paid the city a $5,000 deposit for the long-empty lot near East 63rd Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard and offered Raytown $650,000 for the land.

Many residents and business owners are causing the decision a success, pointing out they won't have to compete against the big box store or an increase in traffic.

"I guess we're pretty strong on what we feel, and I know that you can do a lot when you're together, so I guess there were enough of complaints that they did something about it," said Raytown resident Lorna Hill.

But Charlotte Melson, a member of the city's Board of Aldermen, said she was disappointed by the decision.

"I think it was a very positive step for the community, a very positive step for the business community able to bring something down here to this green space, that really concerns me as a resident, and also as an alderman," she said. "There were a lot of vocal people at our meetings, which ran until the wee hours of the morning, but there was also a lot of positive people that didn't come to those meetings."

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Syed Shabbir contributed to this report.

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