Some residents ready to welcome Wal-Mart

As technicalities are worked out by the Planning Board, several people involved with the project are moving forward with discussions with the community to determine whether a Wal-Mart on Autopark Drive is desirable to residents.

Wal-Mart officials said there is only one way to see how residents feel about having a Wal-Mart in their neighborhood -- ask them.

According to Philip Serghini, public affairs official for Wal-Mart, that is the reason the store sends postcards to residents in areas where Wal-Mart intends to move.

"When we have a new project, we will send around a postcard to let residents know that this is what our intention is and that we plan to move, and here's some of the details," said Serghini. "In this case, we're talking about a slightly increased sized Wal-Mart."

Serghini said the Wal-Mart Supercenter is slightly larger because it includes a grocery store, which, according to James Person, who lives near Autopark Drive, is incentive for residents to agree to a Wal-Mart in their neighborhood.

"There isn't really anything in Colonie that has lower food prices, and I also think it's more convenient so you [wouldn't] have to drive as far as Clifton Park," said Person. "I like shopping [at Wal-Mart]."

Person said, in general, he has had good experiences shopping at Wal-Mart and he would continue to shop there if there was one closer.

Others think having a Wal-Mart on Autopark Drive is a good idea because of the jobs it will create for residents near the area.

Pat Ryan, who also lives near the proposed site, said that he had learned from Wal-Mart officials that the new Wal-Mart could potentially create about 200 jobs. Ryan also said that by adding Wal-Mart to the group of nearby retail stores, residents will have more to choose from when deciding where to shop.

"It gives us options, which we don't have lately," said Ryan.

Serghini said there still remains a lengthy process of approval by the Planning Board before the Wal-Mart Supercenter could actually settle in on Autopark Drive.

Caponera said he has hopes that it will at least get the plans improved within the year. ""

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