Harford Coutny Executive David R. Craig today issued a statement opposing Walmart’s plan to move its Abingdon store to Bel Air. In today’s statement, Craig noted that Walmart representatives officially notified the Harford County Government of the move, which had been widely rumored during the past year. Craig said he opposes the move because he believes the store’s size is wrong for the Plumtree Road area and would cause traffic problems. He urges the store to remain at its location in the Constant Friendship Shopping Center, stressing the recent road improvements made to the Route 24 and 924 interchange at that spot. Here is the statement from the County Executive:
Statement by County Executive David R. Craig Regarding the Proposed Re-Location of Walmart to Bel Air
(Bel Air, MD) – – The following statement was issued by Harford County Executive David R. Craig regarding a proposed move of the Constant Friendship Walmart to the Plumtree Road site near Bel Air.
“Harford County Government has been officially notified by representatives of Walmart of their interest in relocating from the current location at Constant Friendship near Abingdon to a site on Plumtree Road near Bel Air. The proposal includes plans for a Walmart Supercenter at the Bel Air location, which is a significant expansion beyond the size of the current store.
“I have serious concerns regarding the proposed construction of a Walmart at the site discussed. It is in my opinion the wrong location and not characteristic of the smaller type of retail we had hoped would complement the existing community shopping centers in the area. But more importantly, I have serious concerns about how the proposed project will impact traffic and public safety.
“I feel that it would in the long run be better for the county if Walmart were to re- invest in their Constant Friendship location. All too often, we are quick to abandon older facilities and communities in favor of new locations without looking at ways to revitalize what we already have. Now that the state has put the finishing touches on the new interchange at 24 and 924, the traffic situation in that area has improved greatly, and the current location is much better equipped to handle the volume of traffic that a store such as Walmart generates.
“While Walmart can, by right under the law, develop this property, I stand with our citizens and urge Walmart to reconsider plans to relocate from Abingdon to Bel Air. My administration is interested in working with Walmart to find a more amenable solution that will allow them to expand at their current Constant Friendship/Abingdon location. I encourage citizens to stay engaged in this process and to let their voices be heard. I hope that we can work together on a plan that is better for our citizens and our community.”