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WalMart site quickly rezoned but project on hold

After hearing from six opponents, the Barnesville city council quickly and unanimously voted to rezone 67.22 acres it owns on Roberta Drive to highway commercial for a proposed WalMart Supercenter Monday. But, the WalMart project has apparently hit a snag. Mayor Peter Banks reported the developer of the project has been unable to negotiate the purchase of 1.77 acres at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Roberta Drive that is key to the project. “That (WalMart) project is on hold,” mayor Peter Banks said. The property, which was previously owned by Empire Gas, Alan Hudson and Sophie Blosser is now owned in foreclosure by First Laurens Bank of Dublin, Ga. The bank apparently has a high asking price on the property that one source said was in excess of $1.5 million. Empire Gas bought it in 1999 for $53,400. Hudson bought it in 2002 for $185,000. Mayor Banks, council members Anne Claxton and Sammie Shropshire and city manager Kenny Roberts spoke in favor of the rezoning. Citizens Gary Larkey, Mark Hocking, Kathy Haddock, Beverly Eskridge, Earl Fortson and Brenda Mitchell spoke against the rezoning. The entire hearing and vote took only 20 minutes.

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