HAMMOND | A Hammond City councilman has expressed dismay about the possibility of the Walmart on 165th Street closing for a larger store to open at the Cabela's site.
The Hammond Redevelopment Commission in early December agreed to lift a stipulation in Cabela's original project agreement restricting certain businesses already in the city from locating to the site at Indianapolis Boulevard and Interstate 80/94.
The deal requires Cabela's to pay Hammond $2.25 million by July.
Hammond City Councilman Anthony Higgs, D-3rd, told his fellow council members at the group's final meeting of 2012 that he's received numerous calls from concerned residents.
“I'm sure the inconvenience of not having a bus service will prohibit many existing customers and employees from getting to the new location,” Higgs said.
Higgs said Walmart is a great asset to the 3rd District and called the potential of the store moving to Cabela's unfair.
City officials explained the Walmart at 1828 165th St. is limited in the groceries it can sell because of a site restriction. But the new store is envisioned as a supercenter with the ability to sell more groceries.
Over the years, Walmart has talked with the city about potential expansion, but it couldn't at the 165th Street site, said Phil Taillon, executive director of the city's Department of Planning and Development, when he spoke to Redevelopment commissioners before the vote.
While Walmart has approached the city, there's no guarantee the move will occur.
“They basically told us because of the restriction on the food, they're going to find a new site,” Taillon said, “whether it's in Hammond or the surrounding area.”