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St. Albans Wal-Mart set to open - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

St. Albans Wal-Mart set to open

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

Linda Carpenter loves to get her shop on.

"Always excited for shopping," she said.

And in just a few weeks, Wal-Mart will be hosting a grand opening-- opening more spending opportunity for Carpenter.

"Just now coming down Route 7 and I think, look what it has done for the highway here. Wal-Mart is coming and it's done all this for us," Carpenter said.

"It's finally here. Here ya' go, Franklin County!" said Sam Ruggiano, the site engineer for the Wal-Mart project.

Ruggiano has had a hand on the project since the first proposal in the 1990s and became the project engineer in 2003. He says the town needs this big box store.

"St. Albans does not have a large discount anchor store anymore. Woolworths is gone, Ames left, Ben Franklin's store has left; there's not a large discount store in Franklin County. And with that, I think it's going to be an incredible success," Ruggiano said.

The decision for Wal-Mart to land in St. Albans took nearly two decades. Environmental groups and local business owners worried about the big box store's impact on the community's small-town character.

"The town has had a great opportunity to debate the whole issue and work through that. As a result, I think that most of the people feel that they've been listened to. A majority of the people here are still smiling. Those of them who are disgruntled have the opportunity to still kind of voice that," said David Southwick of the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Project managers say Wal-Mart is expected to create at least 200 jobs in the area and attract more tourists.

"We want other reasons for them to come to town. So, that may be food, it may be shopping for things Wal-Mart doesn't carry. The idea is they're here and we're going to capitalize on that," Southwick said.

Project managers say plans for access roads are already in the works, but say there are no updates on what is happening with the area in front of Wal-Mart.

An exact date for the grand opening hasn't been set yet, but project managers say they expect it to be sometime in mid-to-late October.

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