Lawrence city commissioners enthusiastically approved a revised site plan for a new breed of Wal-Mart store that plans to mix retail with recycling.
"Where the uniqueness is coming from is that they are trying to develop a more environmentally sensitive retailing program," said Roger Schenewerk of Landplan Engineering, which is developing plans for a Wal-Mart store at 33rd and Iowa.
"Lawrence is one of the first stores in the United States where they're going to do that," Schenewerk said. "Depending on how this goes, they will replicate this at other stores."
The site plan for the store features an enclosed, 2,052-square-foot recycling center on the southeast corner of the site.
A drop-off lane outfitted with bins for the separation of colored and clear glass, aluminum, cardboard and three types of plastic, will be on the west side of the recycling building.
The site plan also sets aside an area for composting, still in the planning stages, where Lawrence residents could bring their grass clippings and leaves.
Wal-Mart also will attempt to build as much of the facility out of recycled materials as possible. For example, recycled asphalt could be used in the parking lot, Schenewerk said.
Irrigation water for the store's greenery will come from three sources: city water, storm water runoff, and "grey water" from the store's restroom wash bins.
Commissioners unanimously approved the site plan.
"I personally think it's exciting to have this project," Commissioner Bob Schulte said. "I think it will encourage more people to recycle than are presently doing so."
Schenewerk said that Wal-Mart hopes to obtain a building permit for construction in about a month.
"Ideally, they would have the store so it would be open by Thanksgiving," Schenewerk said.
Wal-Mart officials have said they hope to lease their existing store, 2727 Iowa.