Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins is delighted to see activity on the east side of town.
That’s because that’s where a Walmart Supercenter construction project is taking place.
An access drive and a work site trailer — a jobsite security position was recently the subject of an advertisement are in place on the property immediately east of Eastwood Baptist Church. Multiple pieces of heavy equipment are also on site.
"It’s wonderful," Wilkins said. "If it would quit raining we might see some dozer work. It’s been a long time coming but they’re fixing to get started."
Wilkins said it is his understanding the workers have identified trees that will be spared during the construction phase, which is expected to last into 2015.
"When they were going to start in April or May I was told it would be Jan. 15," Wilkins said of the completion date. "But now it will probably be February or March before it opens."
The most popular query about the forthcoming store is whether the Booneville Supercenter will, like many other, be situated with gas pumps. Wilkins said throughout the process there have been different answers to that question and he is uncertain of the current plan.
The activity at the site continues a recent, steady pace for the project.
In March the Booneville City Council was notified of an adjustment to utility service line easements beneath the parking lot at the Supercenter. In April, Wilkins signed an agreement with the state through which the city will, once the warranty period ends, provide maintenance for and utility service to another stoplight to be placed on Highway 10 at the store’s entrance.
However, the project is six years old to date.
Aldermen approved a rezoning approval for a property in the city limits in February of 2008, and four months later the Council annexed the remaining portion of property where the supercenter is planned.
Between those events, a fire destroyed the Cargill facility and the area lost more than 800 jobs when the management decined to rebuilt the plant.