Despite City Opposition, Wal-Mart to Open

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A Wal-Mart Supercenter is expected to open this week in Reno amid the same traffic fears that prompted the city to oppose the project three years ago.

Wal-Mart won after taking the city to Washoe District Court over its denial of the project in November 2000 due to traffic concerns.

The City Council agreed not to appeal in exchange for a list of 47 conditions to be met by the retail giant.

Wal-Mart had threatened to sue for $1 million a month in damages for lost business if the city unsuccessfully appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In 2000, city traffic engineers estimated the project would generate 9,700 more vehicles a day at the busy intersection of McCarran Boulevard and Mae Anne Avenue.

Some residents still are upset over Judge Steven Kosach's decision to overturn the city's denial of the project. They say traffic will only get worse.

"Many citizens in northwest Reno are not looking for the opening of this store," resident Pam duPre told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Traffic at peak hours is very congested. You can sit through a couple of lights at key intersections before you get through."

Dana Uhlhorn, chairman of the Northwest Neighborhood Advisory Board, said he probably won't shop at the new store.

"I'm not a big Wal-Mart shopper," he said. "Traffic is going to be a nightmare. It's just ridiculous for it to be there."

Tory Nichols, the store's manager, said he has received only one complaint.

"For every complaint there are 200 happy people," he said.

At the nearby Vintage Hills Senior Apartments, many residents welcome the store's opening.

"That's all we can talk about is Wal-Mart going on," Irene Bedsworth said. "We had hopes it would be open before Thanksgiving."

The city still needs to issue a certificate of occupancy for Wal-Mart to open Wednesday as planned.