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City to seek signal permit for new Kroger
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The city of Rincon will ask the state Department of Transportation to install a “stop and go” traffic signal at Brentwood Drive and Highway 21 to accommodate the traffic stemming from the planned new Kroger store.

The company will be responsible for the cost of the signal, Rincon officials said, but the city has to make the request to the state DOT.

“The DOT does not grant permits to private entities,” said Rincon city planner LaMeisha Kelly. “The local government has to sign off on it.”

Traffic estimates for the new store call for a volume of 25,000-30,000 vehicles a week. The current store generates about 18,000-20,000 vehicles a week.

Kroger has announced its intention to build a new 113,000 square foot store on Columbia Avenue, replacing the 44,000 square foot store at Columbia and Silverwood Drive. The company has closed on the deal to acquire 19.11 acres adjacent to Lowe’s. It is leasing the site for its current store.

The city also is applying for an employment incentive program grant, a state Department of Community Affairs effort. EIPs are used in conjunction with private financing for projects that expect to employ people with low to moderate incomes. The employment incentive program is geared toward helping privately-financed projects.

“We’re very confident it will go through,” City Manager Wesley Corbitt said of the grant application.

If the EIP is not approved, the city will pay $100,000 for construction improvement and $50,000 in in-kind contributions for the public right-of-way. Corbitt added Kroger has indicated this commitment, should the EIP grant application fail, will allow them to proceed with the project.

Kelly said Kroger also is close to setting up its pre-construction meetings on the store. Construction of the new Kroger is expected to take about a year. Once the pad for the store is in place, it is usually another couple of months before work can proceed on that, but site work can continue in the interim.

Plans for the new Kroger include a fuel center and what Kroger calls its marketplace, with apparel, more kitchen and household items, a jewelry outlet, a minute-care health clinic and expanded organic food selections, among other additions. There also will be room for two outparcels that could be used for other retail outlets or restaurants.