By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor
KIMBALL, W.Va. – As of Friday afternoon, the Town of Kimball is now the official owner of the former Walmart building and is aggressively seeking development interest in the location.
Mayor Adam Gianato confirmed the deed was turned in the McDowell County Clerk’s Office last week, the culmination of two and half years of negotiation with the previous owner, Rural King Supply.
“We are not looking to sit on it,” said Gianato. “We’ve already sent tons of emails and made phone calls to different potential interests. The plan is to not just utilize the building, but we’re looking at the potential to utilize the property around it as well.”
The Town owns multiple parcels of land, estimated between 14 and 15 acres. Gianato felt that 3, possibly 4, businesses could be placed around the property without encroaching upon the main structure itself.
Another attractive prospect for potential businesses is the infrastructure on the property.
“That property has septic, power, water, fiber, any infrastructure we could need is already in place,” said Gianato.
In the business dealings, the Mayor said he was sworn to secrecy when talks of Rural King Supply donating the property to Kimball began. Gianato credited the hard work of Billi Jean of Rural King during the process until retiring at the first of the year.
Gianato said it also would not have happened without the support of his city Council or the County Commission.
“As soon as I brought the proposal to them in an emergency meeting, they said let’s do it. ‘As long as you know what you’re doing, let’s do it,’” said Gianato.
He said one of the first things he did was reach out to Commission President Cecil Patterson, whom Gianato said has helped him contact more prospects.
“I’ll absolutely be working with (the Commission) to get this developed. We can’t do it by ourselves, nobody can. If any city tells you they can do it without the county or the state’s help, they’re lying. Charleston, Morgantown, it doesn’t matter,” said Gianato.
Now the million dollar question from the public is what sort of operation will inhabit the building in the future.
“A lot of people have asked are we trying to get something retail or some kind of manufacturing in there, and the answer to the question is yes,” said Gianato. “At this moment in time, I don’t know if there will be a retail establishment or manufacturing facility. Whatever it is will create jobs and revenue,” said Gianato.
After all the phones calls and emails, Gianato said the prospects looked good and any progress would be announced in the future.