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New Wal-Mart?

The county is slated to have a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night.

One ecologist says a steep ravine behind the site is one of only a few in Leon County.

He says it's an example of Beech Magnolia Forest, the richest type of forest community in the U.S. or Canada.

Just a few hundred yards east of North Monroe Street, it's an almost untouched part of Leon County.

Ecologist Bruce Means studies ravines and says this one is worth saving.

In part because it's home to an unusual species of salamander.

"It's a treasure of a wild patch of leftover nature that we don't have in Tallahassee except in a couple of places,” explains Means.

So when Wal-Mart showed the county plans to move this Sam’s Club, and expand the site for a Super Wal-Mart, ecologists like dr. Means took note.

"This is right here in Tallahassee in our backyard. What concerns me about the development here is a very special kind of environment will be destroyed,” adds Means.

Dan Winchester is concerned about Wal-Mart's plans as a county commissioner and a neighborhood resident.

"I have a lot of folks in the neighborhood, myself included, that are concerned about the overall effects of a Super Wal-Mart going from 100,000 to 200,000 feet in the Lake Jackson drainage basin,” Winchester says.

Water from the ravine feeds Lake Jackson, which means Winchester and others say whatever development goes here won't go forward without a lot of consideration

A local development representative for Wal-Mart did not return our call for comment, but has told county officials the company's plans for the site are only preliminary.

County commissioners may consider the development rights for the site Tuesday night, it's currently on their agenda, but Commissioner Winchester says that item could be postponed until neighborhood residents get a better idea what's in store.


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