Walmart to Pay for Expanded Powell Adams Road

by August 1, 2011 • 36 comments

Although final plans or a formal commitment for a new Walmart has not been made, an agreement between the Panama City Beach CRA and Walmart has been made for them to pay for road improvements.

The Panama City Beach CRA, or Community Redevelopment Area is a mechanism by which our local roads and infrastructure are being improved over time to look better, be more beautiful and to better handle increased load and demand. Past CRA projects include the Churchwell road improvements, R Jackson Blvd improvements and the currently ongoing South Thomas Drive improvements.

The Powell Adams improvements include all the treatments you’d find in a normal CRA project, including underground utilities, sidewalks, street lights and landscaping.  In addition, of course, the road way will be widened to four lanes.  The improvements are projected to be around $2 million.

The CRA had existing plans to treat Powell Adams road, but it was several projects away – the CRA is working it’s way west from it’s current development location.  This agreement with Walmart stipulates that they will pay for the improvements and the CRA will reimburse them at a later date.  By doing the improvements this way, the City is expected to save almost $500k.

There is no expected start date just yet, but you can expect more information on this in the coming weeks from us.

This topic has created a very lively discussion on our other post, how do you feel about this improvement now?

 

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1 Jeremy August 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I’m sorry, but this is just insane. The local ‘authorities’ making these decisions need to be reined in and listen to majority living in their community. It’s been less than a month since the latest tragic fatality at this very road junction with Back Beach, yet they still keep pressing for this new Walmart and the new Aaran Bessant ampitheater extensions. The infrastructure in this vicinity is already clearly maxed out beyond capacity and such additions are beyond foolish. Traffic/Safety issues aside, this is just a dumb place to put a Walmart anyway. There are two residential communities neighboring this block that will be directly affected, and the business impact will kill Pier Park, especially Target next door. We are not short of acreage and development land in PCB, so why does it all have to be crammed into this one area?

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2 Janet August 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

I agree

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3 Cathy August 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

Please don’t take me wrong because I am all for building and improvements in a community however after reading the posted comments & latest articles concerning the “new” Wal-Mart & “new” amphitheater & the article on traffic/possibly road closures……. I took a moment & studied the land maps of the area…… When is enough, enough?
You know any designated area can only hold so much before it becomes so congested it is deemed intolerable for residents & tourist. Instead of enjoyment it becomes a nightmare to visit & people then move on down the line to other places for relaxation.
I do love the area, I love the shops & I’m sure I will love the out door theater……… I just hope & pray it does not backfire on the planners of this community.
There is so much acreage around that area, I lean toward what Jeremy said….. Why does everything seem to be headed for that one particular area?
Thank you,
Cathy/Tennessee

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4 Casual Observer August 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

I have to say I agree with the opposition to Wal-Mart going in on Powell Adams Rd. I think it will be a detriment to Pier Park and all the GOOD work Pier Park has done to revitalize our community. Why would we so quickly turn our backs on Pier Park and all the merchants that have worked so hard to help put heads in beds on the beach? Wal-Mart will be the final nail in the coffin for our already over saturated housing market. $500K is a pitance for Wal-Mart to “buy” our community and subsequently kill it. Beleive me, once they kill it, they will pack up and move on to another market and kill it too. I am not saying we don’t want another Wal-Mart on the beach, but we don’t need it on Powell Adams Rd., next to Pier Park !!! There is plenty of room for a Wal-Mart west of 79 that will not create the conflict with Pier Park and will not impact the traffic flow nearly as bad…let’s be smart and explore other options before we so quickly take the deal Wal-Mart is dangling in front of us in order to save $500K.

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5 Ron Crumpler August 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Keep adding traffic lights and the top speed will be that of a residential area anyway. The “Expressway” part went away a long time ago. Once you get west of 79, the speed picks up, but certainly not before. It has never made sense to me, that one lone car on a side street can pull up to the light and cause 30 or 40 cars to stop. How environmentally sound is that?

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6 tom bubb August 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

Before Wal-Mart moves, they should be required to fill the concrete hole they created after leaving the Thomas drive/back beach rd. This property is a blighted eye sore and is the first impression of our community when coming over the bridge. We should not allow them to leave a bigger concrete hole on front beach. If no business can be found to afford to possess such a huge expanse of space then Wal-Mart should incur the cost to leave them. Digging up the concreate and replacing it with trees and landscape shrubs should be requrired before they can move anywhere.

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7 John August 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

It’s my understanding that the Front Beach store will stay open. This will be a second, slightly smaller SuperStore.

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8 Cathy August 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm

John, you are correct. A long time ago when this talk first came out people were thinking that the Wal-Mart on Front Beach would totally close now in up-to-date articles I see it will not. The new store to be built will be a smaller store. This certainly makes no sense nor does the location make any sense.
Actually I think, people who visit the beach would rather have less congestion along Front Beach Rd. and drive out a little further to purchase large amounts of necessities.
Hopefully Wal-Mart officials will come to their senses & re-think all this. It would be better all-together to build a new BIG store at a more spacious location than what is now planned and they would not be out any funds for roads etc.
Thanks, Cathy

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9 John August 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

For years I lived in Knoxville, there is a huge retailing area west of town –Turkey Creek. There is a huge shopping complex, a Wal-Mart Super Store on one end and a Target Super Store on the other. Never thought it would work, but it does. While I understand the traffic concerns, I don’t really think it’ll hurt Pier Park. It might actually help.

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10 Maureen August 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

I was under the impression that Walmart was going to rebuild in the back beach road Publix area. Seems like a fine place to me.

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11 Cathy August 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Publix re-built in a great location…. now, what will happen to the older store that was left behind?
I’ve visited the new store on Back Beach and don’t mind driving to it…. it’s clean & situated out of the rush on Front Beach.
Don’t get me wrong there is traffic but, not as bad.
Thanks, Cathy/Tennessee

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12 Michael August 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Only one problem with owning vacation property in PCB…..ya’ can’t vote….

The PCB Daily article seems to be about an agreement between CRA and Walmart for road construction, but the comments all refer to the placement of said new Walmart ?

Don’t you think it’s wonderful of the ever civic minded Walmart to make a reverse interest loan just to improve the community traffic blight? Especially when, January 24 News Herald said money was running tight for the CRA due to the economy ! Like all county and city agencies…yours and mine….any money is good money if it keeps construction going, no matter the cost.

The land that Walmart is eying is, I understand owned by St. Joe Company. Is there really anything the populace can do if those two decide to strike a deal ? Perhaps the county / city Fathers could if they were so inclined ? Personally I have no objection to a second PCB Walmart, but do object to the suggested (probable) placement. PCB has worked hard to create the ambiance of Pier Park, only to consider adding such an establishment? Plenty of good location on the north side of Hwy 98. Putting a WM on land not adjacent to the beautiful Pier Park would be a giant step forward toward loosing the moniker ” Redneck Riviera”. I remember PCB Daily preaching against this long standing name some years back. Hopefully they and the Fathers will remember, and look before they leap!
Thanks

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13 Cathy August 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi Michael……
I agree with everything you write but the part about “Redneck Riviera”. It’s a harmless name I’ve heard since I was a child & I am 53 now… to lose this would be like losing a part of PCB that people have loved for many many years. Moniker…… that “Moniker” is part of PCB finest heritage! It’s a Southern Thing & we love it!
Cathy/Tn.

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14 Jason Koertge August 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

At this point, “official” plans for the Walmart have not been released, as far as I know. But, with the direction everything is going, it seems quite likely that should they put a new one up, this is definitely going to be the location.

So far as I know, the plans for this Walmart include a building 75% the size of the other Beach Walmart. I don’t know if this one will have mostly groceries or if it’ll be the same as the other one, just smaller, no idea. But I’ll poke around.

The land in question is indeed owned by St. Joe – and I’m sure they are starving to do something with it. I do not think it will have any detriment to Pier Park, but if they sell produce there, I’ll probably go there instead of Target for minor grocery items. Right now, I go to Target all the time. So, assuming others are like me, I think we could assume this could hurt Target.

I have my reservations on the location as well. In it’s current state, the intersection of Powell Adams and Back Beach Road is extremely dangerous. There are wrecks there all the time and many of them are serious (there was a death there in the last 30 days). The next intersection down at the Palmetto Trace entrance is extremely dangerous, along with the entrance to Colony Club. The only resolution is to put in traffic lights or slow down the speed limit. Think about it. It’s always going to be dangerous when you pair pulling out of a residential area onto a highway. It’s a scary scenario.

I, for one, hate all the traffic lights on Back Beach Road. Shoot, I hate all the traffic that comes with our tourist season. BUT, it’s all necessary, unavoidable and inevitable. As more people WANT to come to our area, more people WILL come to our area – and with that, we’ll have more traffic. The only thing we can do is accomodate and the unfortunate compromise will be more lights and a slower speed. Nothing we can do about that.

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15 Jason Koertge August 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Oh, and I meant to say. . .

This ins’t a voting matter. If you don’t like it, and you’re a property owner here, you pay taxes, etc., you have a right to have your voice heard.

Contact the Mayor, the local City Planner and City Commissioners. Believe me, they listen and they’re concerned too.

You can find their information on the PCBGOV.com site.

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16 Rob August 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I agree with you Jason, and the other commenters that feel that the intersection with Back Beach and Powell Adams, and others are quite dangerous. A traffic light is sorely needed at Colony Club, the new one at Clara doesn’t really help much. And Palmetto Trace could stand to have a light too.

Also, out near your business near Wisteria Lane, I’ve noticed they put in one of those traffic counter lines across the roadway. This has just been in the past couple of days. Perhaps there is some traffic research going on out here on the west end?

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17 Linda August 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Instead of light after light, they should build frontage roads with lower speed limits and then have an occasional traffic light to hook up with Back Beach

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18 Jason Koertge August 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Excellent idea Linda. But that means money.

19 James D. August 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

“Only one problem with owning vacation property in PCB…..ya’ can’t vote….”

You can if you make your vacation property your primary residence! 😉
Then more of you would have a voice in booting the elected nimrods pushing this and other short-sighted plans!!

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20 Senseless August 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I don’t get it. They just opened a Wal-Mart roughly 15-20 mins west of the proposed location, that rumor has it sells $250,000 a day for the entire 1st week it was open. Why would we let another building/eyesore open up in our neighborhood and put our locals out of business. I just don’t understand the need of a 3rd Wal-Mart in roughly a 30 mile stretch. Can someone explain that to me???

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21 lady slipper August 8, 2011 at 2:47 am

Would be nice to know how much the federal, florida state govern, bay county, PCB give Walmart, does anyone know?? I am sure the gov is not helping the mom and pops business

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22 Cathy K August 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

If the CRA is reimbursing wal-mart, then please change the title to your article! Or has wal-mart bought you too?

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23 Jason Koertge August 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Well, I guess I could. But the current title seemed to fit better.

Walmart IS paying for it, and they are being reimbursed for around 77% of it. It’s saving us money, which is why we are even entertaining this. Plus, we get the road now, and we get to pay for it later.

The CRA fund is limited and this is an opportunity for us to get an improved road before we can afford to do it. I guess.

How’s this for a title: Walmart to Pay for Expanded Powell Adams Road then Reimbursed by the Panama City Beach CRA at some Future Unknown Date.

Would that work?

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24 R. R. August 3, 2011 at 12:43 am

Perhaps St. Joe and WM may want to consider a “By-Pass” for all of the E/W Hwy 98 traffic that really doesn’t need to be on the beach… Those folks would probably prefer to avoid the slower traffic, need for abundant trafic lights and pedestrians/bikes etc that further complicate a traveler’s day on the beach…. I for one prefer an elevated highway “express” route… get up there and go!

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25 Jason Koertge August 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

Having come from Dallas, TX, I totally understand this. That’s just the way it was there. Highways with no stop lights and frontage roads.

I can only assume we’re not doing anything like that here now because of money. We have TONS of people that come through here 3 months out of the year, but the rest of the year, this area is very slow. In just two weeks, this area will slow down to a virtual crawl.

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26 Cathy August 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

“Progress” It’s all in the name of progress. When the smaller Mom & Pop places started to diminish along Hwy. 98 years ago & were replaced by the giant highrise condos…….. something should have “clicked”. Please don’t take this personal but it happens in every town that shows development and growth, usually with schools and roads paying the higher price (slow to expand) to meet the needs of a communities growth. The planning commissions are good and do a wonderful job for us but, sometimes they act way to slowly…… much slower than the giants being built bringing massive amounts of tourist in who will travel the same roads that people who stayed at the Mom & Pop Motels did long ago.
The “highlight”……… more tourist more money , just think Wal-Mart will be more than happy to accept this and help pay for road improvements!
Cathy/Tennessee

27 Stacey August 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Which raises another concern; I doubt that for 9 months of the year the local economy can support a Walmart and Target next door to each other, or 2 Walmarts in the same town, until we have grown a lot more.

Either way, something needs to be done asap at this road, as well as the junction at Hills Rd next to it, and before anything else is built nearby to exaggerate the existing problems. Just seems to me that allowing Walmart to pay for it basically gives them a green light to force themselves into an area that is already dangerously congested.

28 Linda August 7, 2011 at 8:03 am

That’s why PCB needs to attract couples without kids. Kids back in school is why it slows down, but the weather is so great August through October. I personally love going in October. Water is still warm enough to go in and practically crystal clear. Bring in some big name bands (and not just country 🙂
Also, look into getting a minor league sports team to move here or a major baseball team’s spring training camp.

29 lady slipper August 8, 2011 at 2:48 am

I think Walmart in the end will be paying very little for the road, they will get that back 100 fold

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30 Al August 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I think it will be nice to have a Walmart to shop a little closer to the west end so I don’t have to get into that Front Beach Road traffic. I am not a fan of Target and generally won’t shop there. Although I don’t look forward to the extra street traffic, the business traffic it will attract will bring with it other businesses, restaurants, etc. which will help the area and will likely help the businesses in Pier Park. I just hope we don’t need to add more stop lights. I won;t go to Destin because of the stop lights. we certainly don’t want to turn PCB into another stoplight city like Destin.

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31 John August 3, 2011 at 6:34 am

Why is no one planning for the future and planning overpasses or alternate routes other than just adding a new red light on back beach every 3 months?

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32 Cynthia August 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

I haven’t been to Walmart in fifteen years and one that will choke traffic won’t get my bus–iness. Walmart is like the aliens in Cowboys and Aliens, really just interested in our gold.

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33 Dan McCarty August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm

My wife and i are totally against the new Wall-Mart store at Pier Park. That’s all Pier Park needs is a bunch of plastic Wall-Mart bags blowing all over Pier-Park.

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34 Jason Koertge August 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I’m going to meet with the city in the morning to discuss this. Any questions you want me to ask?

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35 Yvonne Berkowitz August 5, 2011 at 8:10 am

Accidents on Back Beach road in the Pier Park area have risen dramatically. I hope plans for that intersection include a traffic light (flashing during non-business hours)

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36 Jeremy September 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Well, looks like this is a done deal regardless of local opinion, as I see they’ve started working on the roadworks. Traffic cones are out across the whole stretch, just in time to choke up the parkway further for the country music festival weekend.

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