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Wal-Mart land clearing begins

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- With permits in place and the ink dry, work has officially begun on the site that is to serve as the home of the East Albany Wal-Mart location.

Oxford Construction Co. crews were at the site Wednesday clearing land and putting up erosion-control structures around the perimeter of the location.

Last month, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard confirmed that the sale of the land had been conducted and closing had ended on the property, paving the way for the retail giant to begin construction.

City Planning Director Howard Brown said Wednesday that the first permits for construction on the site had been issued and that work had commenced.

Developers predict that the store should be finished by next spring and anticipate a grand opening at that point. The Arkansas-based retailer doesn't traditionally celebrate groundbreakings.

Still, the construction of the store is a welcome sign to residents and leaders of East Albany, who have been desperately seeking a retail hub in the area.

Sinyard, who officially announced he would seek re-election Wednesday, mentioned Wal-Mart in his speech to supporters.

"The Wal-Mart development is a sign of support for Albany and Dougherty County and will bring much-needed jobs, revenue and quality-of-life improvements for residents in a part of town that has desperately needed all three for a long time," Sinyard said.