DALLAS -- The world's largest retailer begins its entry into southern Dallas next week in a big way.
Where trees now grow on vacant land at I-35 and Loop 12 Ledbetter, which is often the site of illegal dumping, one of the biggest retail projects recently in southern Dallas will start growing with a ground breaking next Wednesday.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is excited about the long-sought store, which will employ 300 people.
"A lot of southern Dallas doesn't have some of the basic grocery store and store options - retail options - that they need, so I'm excited [for] the citizens," Rawlings said.
The 186,000-square foot Supercenter will cover 27 acres, with another 11 acres around the area that will be developed with smaller retail, a gas station and restaurants.
It's one of three stores in southern Dallas the retailer committed to opening last year.
More grocery stores nearby is healthy for residents, according to a 2008 study by the University of Texas at Dallas.
It found when fresh, nutritious, reasonably-priced food is not available in neighborhoods, people turn to smaller stores selling more expensive, high-fat foods. The higher-fat diet contributes to a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
But with more shopping comes vehicles, and some longtime nearby residents like Chester Swanson are wary of that.
"I don't agree with it being there," he said. "It's going to put a lot of traffic in this neighborhood."
But the store met very little opposition before the city council when approved in December, and council member Dwaine Caraway, who represents the area, said traffic will be controlled.
"You're never going to please everybody, but you have to look at the overall impact that it's going to have and the long term impact that it's going to have, and the transition it is going to do for that entire area, and the jobs it's going to bring," Caraway said.
Walmart hopes to open the store in early 2014.