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|Land sale paves way for new Sears store in West Monroe|
The city of West Monroe will sell a parcel of land off Downing Pines Road to Darbonne Sunrise Enterprises, which plans to open a Sears dealer store.
The Board of Aldermen approved the sale of 2.648 acres to Darbonne Sunrise Enterprises for $290,000 during its regular meeting Tuesday.
The Sears dealer store will be located behind the new Tractor Supply Co. Construction of the 10,000-square-foot store is expected to begin after the first of the year.
"In smaller communities, they don't build the big Sears store," said Eric Hale, West Monroe's economic development coordinator. "They build the smaller stores that just have the high-end stuff like appliances and hardware, electronics, and the Sears brand like Craftsman."
The average sales per year for this type of Sears store is $1.5 million, Hale said. That would amount to roughly $37,500 in annual sales tax revenue for the city.
On a related note, Mayor Dave Norris said sales tax revenues in September were up 7.8 percent in the city.
"We're all holding our breath about the status of the economy," Norris said, alluding to a downturn in the economy nationwide.
"None of the news is good news," Norris said. "I don't hear anything good going on, so I'm kind of shocked that our sales tax was up."
The Board of Aldermen also passed over an ordinance to accept an agreement with Kansas City Southern Railway Company to close two railroad crossings in West Monroe.
That agreement should be finalized by the end of the month, said city attorney Doug Caldwell.
State law allows a railroad company to close any railroad crossings it deems unsafe.
KCS wanted to close four crossings in West Monroe, Norris said, but the city lobbied to keep two of them open.
"Since they're going to increase the amount of traffic and the rate of speed, they all are dangerous now," Norris said. "Anyhow, we negotiated with them down to two crossings."
The two crossings that will be closed are the ones at Plum Street and South Second Street.
"The underpass (in downtown West Monroe) needs some remedial construction work, and I told them we were not going to do this until we get an agreement they would do that," Norris said. "I think we're in pretty good shape because I don't know how many crossings they're going to close in downtown Monroe, but it's just about all of them. Very few of them will continue to be open."
"I think we got out pretty good," he added.
The city also will be able to apply for a quiet zone in downtown West Monroe now that all of its crossings will be upgraded and two will be closed, Norris said.
"We'll apply for that and that will keep them from blowing their whistles," Norris said.