08/04/04 — Wal-Mart coming to Mount Olive?

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Wal-Mart coming to Mount Olive?

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 4, 2004 2:02 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A large shopping center, perhaps a Wal-Mart, is coming to Mount Olive, says the mayor.

The Mount Olive town board accepted a petition to annex about 20 acres at the intersection of U.S. 117 and N.C. 55 on Monday night and scheduled a public hearing at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 in Town Hall. After the public hearing, the board will consider adopting an ordinance annexing the property.

Nobody but the mayor would say why the owners asked for the annexation of the land, which is composed of numerous tracts. They are owned by Hugh Oates and others. Oates owns about half of the 20 acres. A couple of the tracts are heir properties. A couple owns another tract.

The same land owners requested a change in zoning in December. Town commissioners granted the zoning request and changed it from agricultural-and-residential use to commercial use for a shopping center.

Mayor Ruff Huggins said Oates was approached by a real estate agent who asked for the property owners to package an offer for "a large shopping center."

"I think it's going to be a Wal-Mart Superstore," said Huggins. "Wal-Mart hasn't told me, but that's what the rumor is. An announcement will probably be made in the next month. That's what I'm hoping."

Glen Wilkins with the Wal-Mart Community Affairs office could not be reached for comment by press time.

The company's co-founders, Sam and Bud Walton, started it in 1962 in Rogers, Ark., and in five years, they had 24 stores making $12.6 million in sales. The company became incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 1969.

In the 1970s, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In the '80s, Wal-Mart entered North Carolina. In the '90s, it became the No. 1 employer in the United States. In 2002, Wal-Mart ranked No. on the Fortune 500 listing, and in 2003, it was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired company in America.

Sewer work

In other business:

*The town board awarded a $99,700 contract to Global Construction, which is subject to the town receiving a grant from the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center to do sewer repairs.

The work will be done on Martin Street and Smith Chapel Road. This is part of the sewer system repair work the town has to do in order to comply with an agreement with the state.

*The town commissioners approved a resolution supporting an amendment to the state constitution that would allow for self-financing bonds. North Carolina is one of only two states that still don't have them, and the N.C. League of Municipalities supports getting the voters to approve the amendment, which will be on the ballot in November.

*The board reappointed three members to the town Airport Committee. The reappointments were Ray McDonald Jr., Marvin Showalter and Douglas Wiggins.

*The board passed a resolution supporting the eastern North Carolina part of the state's regional highway plan. The DOT is putting together a new highway plan for the town at no cost. The mayor says the town's current plan is 10 years old and outdated.

*The town is applying for a $100,000 grant to renovate the Civic Center. The DOT offered the money to the town last year to move the depot back to its original location, but the railroad would not allow it. The town board voted Monday night to ask the DOT if the money could be used for renovations instead.