Wal-Mart Talk Widespread In Pass Christian

There's no official confirmation yet. But the possibility of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter coming to Pass Christian is the talk of the town.

The Harrison County Development Commission is recommending a beach front site for the store near the east edge of town.

Specifics about the project may remain a question mark, but folks in the Pass have definite opinions about the possibility.

Visitors to Pass Christian enjoy and appreciate the laid back feeling of the quiet, waterfront community.

Downtown business owner, Paige Riley, fears a Wal-Mart could impact the small town charm that helps make this place unique.

"Mainly losing our history and the ambiance that Pass Christian has. I think commercialism is great. It would bring in tax dollars and certainly employ people. But it's not meant for the beach. Not meant for Pass Christian," Riley said.

A real estate consultant, working for Wal-Mart, would not confirm anything about a possible site in Pass Christian. Tommy Varaeke would only say the retail giant is looking at several possible locations along the Gulf Coast.

Talk on the street says Pass Christian is a strong contender, but opinions are mixed.

Frank Kowalski welcomes Wal-Mart.

"It's good. Pass Christian needs it. We always have to go to Gulfport and Bay St. Louis. It would be nice to have one in town."

Gas station owner Alice Russell isn't so sure.

"I'm not sure that's exactly what we want. The tax base may be really good. But I hate to see small businesses go out of business because a large chain comes in," Russell said.

If Wal-Mart chooses Pass Chrisitian, the company will no doubt bring its plans to the mayor. That hasn't happened.

"I know what I hear on the street. The talk's out there that there's a possibility of a Wal-Mart coming. What type, how large, I have no knowledge whatsoever," Mayor Billy McDonald said.

Until plans are firmed up, it's not likely folks in easy going Pass Christian will worry much about Wal-Mart.