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FORT WORTH Just before 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council approved a controversial plan to build a Walmart Market at the urban village along Berry and Hemphill streets.

The approval came with one stipulation: That the retail giant cannot add a gas station to the property.

Council members passed the measure in a 7-2 vote, but not until they had listened to what a lot of constituents had to say.

Walmart can be a catalyst for further development, but there is no need to destroy or weaken the urban village concept, zoning, or design standards to accomplish this, one speaker said.

But others outlined their opposition to the Walmart plan.

We need development in this area; we need it badly, one woman said. We need quality development in this area.

It's an area where, residents say, driving to a grocery store or the nearest Walmart can take 10 minutes or longer.

Cristella Lerma moved to the neighborhood 17 years ago. Back then, it wasn't very safe, she said. You wouldn't have a lot of families moving into our neighborhood.

But today, you'll find families filling the park with laughter; hoping that whatever happens, this neighborhood has a bright future ahead.

Walmart plans to break ground on its market by summer, which means it could be open for business by the first quarter of next year.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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