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Walmart Plans Public Meeting

The public will soon hear firsthand from Walmart its plans for a store in Green Bay's Broadway District. The retailer announced it is holding an informational meeting next week to try to answer questions surrounding the controversial proposal.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - The public will soon hear firsthand from Walmart its plans for a store in Green Bay's Broadway District. The retailer announced it is holding an informational meeting next week  to try to answer questions surrounding the controversial proposal.

Business groups have been formed, Facebook pages created and petitions circulated, all taking a stand against Walmart. Those against feel the big-box retailer does not fit within the Broadway District's' small business setting.

Walmart plans to hold an informational open house to discuss their proposal and conceptual designs for the possible location Tuesday, September 24, at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, between the hours of 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.          

In a statement Walmart spokesperson Lisa Nelson said  "We think this store can be a part of the solution to offer residents access to fresh, affordable groceries and value-priced general merchandise, conveniently located close to where customers live and work. We welcome the community to share their feedback with us - so that we can plan a store that best meets the needs of our customers and has a lasting, positive impact on the community."            

Ever since this proposal to build a Walmart on the old Larson Canning facility on Broadway Street became public, reaction has been strong. And those both against and for it continue to speak out.

In fact, Thursday at a meeting of a steering committee - developing Green Bay's long-term strategic plan for downtown - during the public comment section, Walmart was the topic of discussion.

 "The overall sentiment is that people love the Broadway neighborhood and they are really willing at this point to protect it and we're not all about big box," said Eric Gabrielson, who has started a Facebook page against Walmart's plan. "That's not what the neighborhood needs."

 "What's redeeming about this is its allowed people to vent a little bit, now they can have a conversation," said Christopher Naumann of On Broadway Inc., which owns the land Walmart is proposing to develop. "Some of the passion is gone - now calm conversation, people can educate themselves about what this could do from an impact standpoint."

 Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt is against the proposal, but supports the process.  City officials expect huge crowds next week at that open house, with lots of public comment.

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