Welcome to the neighborhood, Walmart
Since its proposal, the establishment of a Walmart in Moon Township has been surrounded by controversy, leaving residents of Moon Township teetering between excitement and disappointment for this new addition to the area.
Michelle Williams, a resident of Moon Township stated, “Personally, I don’t think it’s a good thing for the community because it’s going to reroute traffic and disrupt the lives of the community.”
As a resident of the area, it’s a valid reason to be concerned. However, Chief of Police Leo McCarthy made it very clear that traffic will definitely be a nuisance, but not a big concern.
Before talk of Walmart claiming the barren piece of land that now houses the Meadows Racing just off of University Boulevard, a vibrant plaza once stood with drug stores and many other convenience stores. But over the years, those little stores began to leave and replacement stores took their spots, but it wasn’t enough to keep the plaza alive.
A deteriorating structure also added to the mix and after a failed attempt for a facelift, the plaza crumbled. Eventually, the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. came sweeping in and claimed all but the Meadows Racing, which is independently owned.
Now, instead of a thriving shopping plaza, there are plans to build a Walmart shopping center and possibly allow up to four smaller stores to take residence there as well.
In order to move into the old West Hills Shopping Plaza, Walmart must work with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, better known as PennDOT, in order to create newer and safer traffic patterns.
Roads will need to be widened, and more traffic signs and signals will need to be added. However, according to McCarthy, the area was made to handle a decent amount of traffic, and there is nothing to be overly concerned about.
McCarthy stated that his concerns about the increase of calls and the impact of law enforcement for the Moon Township Police Department are minor as well. He stated that while there will always be retail theft, someone locking their keys in the car, or having a fender bender in the parking lot, that the calls will only increase at about 1.5 a day.
Furthermore, he stated that the Walmart would bring grant programs to the area for law enforcement and the fire fighters as well.
While this Walmart may bring increased traffic and grant programs to the area, it may bring increased business for small stores and the gas stations.
Seeing as the Walmart will be located on the main stretch of University Boulevard, it gives smaller business or independently owned businesses a chance to wave their banners high and take full advantage of the high traffic area.
Although the Moon Township area lost much of its heavier traffic when the Pittsburgh International Airport moved down the street, this may be a second chance for many struggling businesses. But those businesses will have to wait while Walmart continues to negotiate with PennDOT to get their certification.
In the past, this has been the biggest struggle for businesses in the area. However, unlike those smaller businesses, Walmart has the resources to do what the other corporations lacked.
Due to this certification struggle, the building has come to a halt, and the 12 to 18 month process is becoming even longer.
Will it ever actually happen?
That question has yet to be answered, but with only one more obstacle to overcome, Walmart will be free to finish tearing down the rest of the rubble and start building.
It’s a touchy subject for most residents, but some are just waiting in anticipation for that day to come.
“I’m kind of excited,” exclaimed Jodi Januck, another Moon Township resident, “since I shop there, and it will make it easier than driving all the way out to Robinson.”
McCarthy also stated, “My understanding is that it could possibly bring 600 new jobs to this community and surrounding communities. . . . There’s a lot more development going on in Moon Township. Lots of it.”