By Holly Cook
Roeland Park City councilors were briefed Monday on the $500,000 improvement planned for the city’s Walmart located at 5150 Roe Ave. Replacing signs with updated Walmart logos, interior and exterior painting and remodeling the pharmacy are among the planned upgrades.
The store will also update the garden center fencing and add a small bank counter. The store’s photo lab will be removed.
“It’s bringing up the feel of the property…..to a standard appearance for the current Walmarts,” said city administrator Keith Moody.
Moody said he expected the improvement requests could be approved by city staff and would not need to go through the city’s planning commission.
Roeland Park was preparing for the 5150 Roe Ave. Walmart to close following plans for a much larger Walmart to move into the Mission Gateway. After Walmart dropped out of the Mission Gateway plan in October, the store decided to reinvest in its Roeland Park location.
The renovation plans do not include any significant exterior modifications or improvements to landscaping, sidewalks or the parking lot.
Moody said if Walmart commits to staying at the location these types of improvements could be eligible for reimbursement through the Community Improvement District fund. Walmart’s lease on the property is set to expire November 2021.
Councilor Ryan Kellerman suggested having a Walmart representative meet with councilors to discuss future plans for the store. Moody said he had been in touch with the area’s Walmart representative but that the individual was “not really interested in having their plans discussed publicly.”
Moody said the representative would not commit to meeting with the council or the economic development ad hoc committee.
“He has indicated that at this point they don’t anticipate doing more than what has been applied for in this building permit for the next five years,” Moody said.
Councilor Becky Fast asked if the city could encourage the Walmart landowner to improve the parking lot.
“I understand Walmart is only going to do remodeling inside but it’s time for the owner to make some repairs to that parking lot and the aesthetics and to make it more warm and friendly,” Fast said.
Fast noted the landowner had done “very little” over the past ten years.
Michael Poppa agreed with Fast’s comments and said he would like the landowner to meet with council members.
“There is a lot of room for improvement on that site,” he said.