Nov 20, 2012 7:40 PM by Dax VanFossen - KAJ News
POLSON- Construction has begun on a new Walmart Supercenter in Polson which will employ up to 60 more people than the smaller current location.
Despite the massive undertaking, it's tough to find people in the Polson area who will talk openly about the project.
The current Walmart in Polson sits at about 57,000 square feet in size. The new Supercenter will be about triple that size at 155,000 square feet.
It's a big store for Polson, though still 35,000 square feet shy of the Kalispell Supercenter.
Some local Polson business owners are uneasy. A research report done in 2006 by a privately formed group called Lake County First found that some area grocery stores could lose up to 30% retail when the new Supercenter opens.
Walmart also has a track record of donating money back into the community.
Several business owners in the downtown area declined going on camera. At least three business owners told us they were not that concerned about the new Supercenter, and they were happy about the growth in jobs.
However, other owners said they were concerned about the impact Walmart would have on the shopping in the downtown area.
One anonymous longtime Polson store owner said, "There's nothing we can do about it now. We will all just have to find our own special niche to stay alive."
Senior Project Manager, Neil Nelson, is President of ESI and says many Montanans will be working on construction.
"A good portion of the construction workforce that will be local laborers. There will be some out-of-state that will be specialty contractors, but in general a lot of them will come in with their expertise as journeymen and then they'll look to team with local labor forces."
The new Walmart Supercenter will also employ up to 180 employees, which is 60 more than the current store.