North Augusta officials beautifying area near planned Wal-Mart

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WFXG) - A Wal-Mart super center and other stores may be coming soon to Exit 5 on Interstate 20, if city leaders approve the development.

"It's a huge economic impact; it's not just a Wal-Mart itself but what it brings with it," said North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.

He says the retail giant will bring several businesses to what will be called Sweetwater Square.

"There's two or three restaurants, there's a Mexican restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, a sushi type of restaurant and then there's some professional office insurance," Glover, said.

Three of the businesses across the road from the development site on Edgefield Road didn't want to talk on camera; but they expressed concerns that the large shopping center will hurt their business.

Glover disagrees, "We think in this case that this is just going to compliment Exit 5 and not harm any existing businesses."

Shoppers, such as Sandee Adams, are looking forward to having more shopping options next year.

"I'm really excited about it; it's something that should've been done a long time ago," Adams, said.

She said she does have one concern though, "The traffic, I know it will be more congested in that area."

City leaders plan to spend about $400,000 over the next few years to add traffic lights, brick medians, decorative light posts and signs.

Glover says they hope to turn the area into a welcoming gateway to North Augusta.

"If someone gets off at Exit 5 and they've never been to North Augusta, they will get a look and feel to what it's like to be here," he said.

The North Augusta Planning Commission and City Council still have to approve the development. If they do, construction could start by the end of the year.

Officials aren't saying how many jobs the companies will bring or how much money the development will bring to the area yet.