Some residents ready to welcome Wal-Mart

Begin baking the cookies. Make sure your sugar bowl is full. For residents of Autopark Drive, a new neighbor could be settling in soon.

It's not the kind of neighbor that you can invite to a barbecue or ask to water your plants while you are away. The new neighbor, expected to hopefully arrive within one year, according to business professionals, is Wal-Mart.

According to Joseph LaCivita, director of the Town of Colonie Planning Board, "There has been a proposal to move the Wal-Mart currently located in Latham Farms over to Autopark Drive."

LaCivita said that while "the plan is currently on the table," there has not yet been a decision.

Mark Nemith, managing partner of Walfred Associates, the company that owns the property on Autopark Drive where the Wal-Mart would go, said, "We have had our parcel on the market for probably over 10 years waiting for something of the right nature to come along."

While he referred most questions to Victor Caponera, an attorney for the Wal-Mart project, Nemith said that the plot of land that Wal-Mart would occupy is between 22 and 23 acres.

One of the elements of the move that the Planning Board has been investigating since the issue was discussed at a public hearing on March 25, is how a Wal-Mart in that location would affect traffic.

"It has to be proper planning," said LaCivita, "We just can't go and put a Wal-Mart into an area that already has a period of congestion."

LaCivita said that is one of the issues that would need to be addressed before giving the OK for the mega-store to be built.

He said that opinions he's heard about the store's proposed move have been mixed.

"It's pretty well split. We have people in favor and the people who don't want it," said LaCivita. "You have the not-in-my-backyard Wal-Mart people," as well as those who support the project.

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