Some Prince George’s County residents believe the new Wal-Mart could generate more traffic and crime.

A Wal-Mart store set to open in South Bowie may come to a halt due to the concerns of Prince George’s County residents. Many believe that building this 186,000 square foot store will create a negative impact, including more traffic.

In December 2013, Wal-Mart announced their plan to move into and enlarging the 56,000-square foot vacant space in the Duvall Shopping Center, which was a grocery store in 2010. Small business owners in the commercial strip say they welcome the move, which has been approved by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, but many neighbors argue that it is not a good fit.

Brian Williams of Highbridge Park is a nearby resident. “I like the way my neighborhood is right now,” Williams said. “I think the building of this Wal-Mart will not only bring more traffic, but also more crime would occur with more coming into the neighborhood.”

There are two other Wal-Marts in the county, but neither is a super centers, which this new Wal-Mart will be if it opens up. One difference is that super centers are open for 24 hours. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Nina Albert told the The Washington Post, the new store would fill a void and generate 300 new jobs.

A business owner located in the Fairview neighborhood said, “I don’t see what the big deal is. A bigger business brings more customers for business owners such as myself.”

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has already signed off on the Wal-Mart proposal, however, the city council is deciding whether or not to send the proposal back to planners for adjustments. “I think if they build another Wal-Mart in Prince George’s County it shouldn’t be here because we already have one in Bowie,” Alicia Franklin of Meadowbrooks neighborhood said. “I think it should be in a different location. The only thing is it would be open 24 hours just in case residents need to pick something up.”

Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer