Reporting Monique Griego
ABINGDON, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County residents are rallying together to take on Wal-Mart after the retail giant made plans to open up a new supercenter.
Monique Griego has more on why neighbors are fighting against it.
Wal-Mart wants to move a location in Abingdon a few miles up the road to Bel Air, but residents in both areas say the plan just doesn’t make sense.
In Harford County, the signs line the streets and pepper people’s lawns. The message is pretty clear: no Wal-Mart in Bel Air.
“I mean, there are tens of thousands of people affected by this,” said Steve Tobia.
Tobia is part of a large group of residents taking on the retail giant. They want to keep Wal-Mart from relocating a store in Abingdon to Bel Air, where it would become a Wal-Mart supercenter.
“We’re just against them moving a store where they already have a location where they could expand it,” he said.
Wal-Mart wants to build the new store in a tree and brush-filled lot near Plumtree Road and Route 924, an area nearby residents say is already too congested and overdeveloped.
“We’ve heard estimates as much as 10,000 or more cars,” said a resident.
Unlike the current location, neighbors say this new location will be surrounded by housing developments.
“Usually, you see Wal-Mart in a much more rural area, not in a residential area,” said that resident.
WJZ contacted Wal-Mart about the concerns but did not receive a response by air time.
Representatives previously told WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, they’re trying to work with the community and are looking into expanding several roads to accommodate traffic.
For Tobia, that’s not enough.
“I think people want to enjoy the community, want to enjoy their homes and living right beside a Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to be appropriate,” Tobia said.
Despite the backlash, as of right now, Wal-Mart still has plans to go forward with its move.
The State Highway Administration has asked Wal-Mart to come up with more ways to fix traffic problems. Residents are still hoping to keep the store from being built.