Walmart to go 24 hours daily, pre-expansion
Written by The Curry Coastal Pilot   
January 26, 2011 04:00 am

CRESCENT CITY – The Crescent City Walmart will be open 24 hours a day starting Saturday, Jan. 29, according to store officials.

The decision comes in preparation for Walmart’s expansion into a “Supercenter,” which is anticipated to begin this summer. Store officials said the expansion will bring a full line of grocery items and additional merchandise to the Washington Boulevard location.

Bob Boucher, local Walmart store manager, said he hopes the upcoming change to a 24-hour store will bring in more business.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a positive change,” Boucher said.

Walmart opened in Crescent City in 1992. Boucher said the anticipated expansion will nearly double the size of the current store. He said construction will likely begin in four months.

“The last word I heard, we would be breaking ground on June 11,” Boucher said.

Tiffany Moffatt, Walmart regional director of media relations,  said the expansion is proceeding as planned.

“We’re currently working with the city on the final permits and hope to go out to bid (for construction in) early summer,” Moffatt said in an e-mail.

Heidi Kunstal, deputy director of county building and planning, said the expansion is on track and county departments are in the process of reviewing Walmart’s plans. 

“They have submitted a building permit application and it is under review,” Kunstal said. “We have a number of parties coordinated in the review of those plans.”

Kunstal said the building division, engineering division, and environmental health division, as well as Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield, must inspect the plans before they’re approved.  

Once the expansion begins, Moffatt said it’ll take about 10 to 12 months to complete construction. She said a larger store will provide for additional jobs. 

“The expansion of this store will create approximately 85 quality jobs,” Moffatt said.

Despite an increase in jobs, Walmart’s expansion plans haven’t evaded criticism. The city’s planning commission approved the expansion in 2008, but the decision was appealed to the board of supervisors by the Crescent City Heritage Coalition.

The coalition contended environmental, economic, traffic, global-warming and urban-decay concerns were not fully addressed in Walmart’s  environmental impact report. It also claimed the board of supervisors violated the county’s general plan by approving the expansion project.

The group ended up filing a lawsuit against Walmart and Del Norte County in 2008, after the board of supervisors upheld the planning commission’s decision.

Del Norte County Superior Court Judge William Follett ruled in favor of the county and Walmart in 2009. Prior to that, Follett had dismissed part of the case for not being filed on time by one of the group’s attorneys.

The entire legal challenge was eventually dismissed in early 2010 after the coalition’s attorney, Brett Jolley of Stockton, failed to file an appeal of Follett’s decision on time.