STOUGHTON (WKOW) -- A proposed development centered around a Walmart in Stoughton is moving forward.
The city council approved about $5 million in financing for the project late Tuesday night.
The developer wants Walmart to anchor a complex with space for other, smaller stores.
Some people are pushing back against the proposal because they're concerned Walmart's presence will hurt local businesses.
If the developer's plans are approved, it could begin preparing the site in the spring.
STOUGHTON (WKOW)-- The city council in Stoughton is deciding whether or not to allow a developer to bring a Walmart into town. It would bring jobs and low prices, but a group of citizens says they don't want the store in their community.
"You are gambling with our money and not answering the tough questions in public," one citizen says during Tuesday night's council meeting.
The Kettle Park West project drew debate from both sides during the council meeting. Developers want to build a large business district at an annexed piece of farm land near the corner of highway 51 and 138 in Stoughton.
Developers requested $5.1 million of Tax Increment Financing money (TIF) to build the infrastructure necessary to develop the site. This money would be used to develop roads, sewer systems and other necessary needs to conduct business. Citizens were split on the idea.
"This community is looking for growth. It is looking for opportunities and that is the challenge for you to consider in this vote," a citizen tells council members.
For several months city officials have been working with developers on the project, but it wasn't until two weeks ago they found out the largest company that was moving in. Developers announced it was a Walmart SuperCenter.
A group of citizens immediately started to organize by starting a petition and gathering together to debate the issue before Tuesday night's council meeting. The group was joined by two council members who are also against using TIF money on the project.
"Not knowing who the tenant was makes you really wonder if that was part of the plan all along and part of the strategy in order to get us here. I really don't know if that's the case, but it does raise a few concerns especially in the community," council member Tim Swadley says.
Several citizens at the meeting were concerned about giving a multi-billion dollar company $5.1 million to build a location in their town. They are also concerned about the effect it would have on small businesses in the community.
City officials were adamant that the TIF money would not go to Walmart directly, but instead go towards the development which will eventually contribute millions of dollars to the local economy once other businesses join in.
City officials say at least three other businesses have made arrangements with the developers to build locations at the new site, but at this time the developers aren't divulging which companies they are.
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