Everybody’s business

But will there be more greeters?
If you think Wal-Mart seems big now, wait until the city approves the corporation’s growth plans, technically referred to as the “Duncan Shopping Center Expansion.”

Here’s what would happen: The existing Forest Avenue store would be extended 97,675 square feet into what is now a field facing Talbert Drive, a.k.a. Wittmeier Drive, bringing Wal-Mart’s total area to 223,605 square feet and making room for groceries to be sold. Also, 505 parking spaces would be added in a 7.9-acre area. There are also plans for a 2.04-acre site that will eventually be a fast-food drive-through.

While a few hawks will be displaced, increased traffic seems to be the biggest environmental impact of the expansion. (Most of the mom-and-pop grocery stores were eaten by big boxes long ago. A gas station could be more controversial, but the station with 12 “fueling positions” is in a later phase.)

Because of the hundreds of extra “trips” generated by the expansion, Wal-Mart has been told to add turn lanes on East 20th Street and install a traffic signal at Talbert and Forest. Now that Krispy Kreme is in the mix on Business Lane, it must pay to widen Baney Lane and make it go two ways. “Whoever comes in first has to do it,” explained Patrick Murphy, a senior planner for the city.

It’s all going down Thursday, June 5, in the City Council Chambers. The Planning Commission will decide whether the negative declaration is OK or if Wal-Mart should commission an environmental-impact report.

All up in your grill
David Wasney is back behind the barbecue. And this time, he’ll come to your event with a barbecue he designed and built himself.

The Wasney family, armed with a secret sauce recipe, started its family restaurant at Dayton and Pomona back in 1946 and sold out in 1995.

“People keep calling me,” Wasney says, wanting him to cater their events. “They just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” At the same time, he said, “It gets in your blood. Down deep in my heart I love it.”

So, he said, “I built the mother of all barbecues.” He’s not just blowing smoke. I went to his house and saw the thing—a 20-foot trailer with a huge apparatus that can handle, say, 640 pounds of pork loins. Wasney came up with a covered barbecue area with trays that looks like a wide Ferris wheel and revolves one full turn per minute. “It’s just the slickest thing,” he says proudly. Wasney is adding a stainless-steel counter and other features for when he starts showing up at weddings, branding parties and the like—as early as next week.

He calls the business Holey Smokes BBQ. All cooking is done over wood, and Wasney can scare up anything from prime rib and poached fish to baked bread and a vegetarian creation. “It’s tending the fire that makes all the difference, and that’s where I come in,” he says.