WalMart opens first store in Horizon City

EL PASO, Texas - The world's biggest retailer has arrived in Horizon City.

The city located East of El Paso opened its first WalMart SuperCenter today. It's located at the corner of Horizon Boulevard and Darrington Road, right across the street from the Horizon Town Hall.

ABC-7 wanted to know what kind of impact -- both good and bad -- the retailer will have.

Horizon City Mayor Walter Miller told me over the past 20 years, Horizon has grown from a population of about 5,000 to more than 20,000 people. Now that they have a WalMart, he thinks that number will grow much more in the near future.

"WalMart kind of signals the national people, the big people, are really looking at our population base here," Miller said. "So it means tax-wise, the sales tax will almost double probably. Property taxes as well will be improved. So yes, it's a significant thing for the city."

Miller said he expects sales tax revenues in the city to rise at least 40-percent due to the new WalMart, or as much as $250,000 a year more in the city coffers. He said that will help Horizon build much-needed new infrastructure in the area.

An additional 300 full-time or part-time jobs have also been created by the WalMart, not to mention drawing new businesses like a Taco Bell and Whataburger to the area, which are already under construction.

As far as small businesses or existing businesses in Horizon City, there are mixed reviews about WalMart opening its doors.

Less than a mile away, Vista Markets has been operating in Horizon for 16 years.

"I'm not really opposed to it," said Gilbert Tapia, manager of the Vista Market. "Competition is always good for everybody. I don't think the community is ready to support a SuperCenter, but with the population booming out here I think eventually we are going to get there."

Tapia said he thinks the WalMart will draw more people to Horizon City to shop, meaning more potential customers may drive by Vista Market and other businesses.

Miller said Horizon has been "heavily dependent" on residential property tax revenue, but now that big business is moving in, it's beginning to diversify the impact of the tax levy to commercial and the plan is to draw industry to the area in the near future.

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