Walmart is the first thing I want to address from the East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association’s mayor and city council candidates forum Thursday night.

The world’s largest retailer plans to build a store at Forth Worth Avenue and Colorado, site of the former Colorado Place Apartments. Those apartments were torn down in 2009 to make way for a mixed-use development, which never materialized.

And a lot of people are mad about the new plans. What neighbors had hoped would be a development of homes, businesses and retailers, is now going to be … Walmart.

North Dallas city councilman and mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky said he and former Mayor Tom Leppert invited Walmart executives from Arkansas, “drove them around the southern sector” and asked why they didn’t have a store here. That’s why Walmart agreed to put 15 new stores in Dallas, including three in the southern part of Dallas.

Natinsky and District 3 City Councilman David Neumann were optimistic about Walmart. Natinsky pointed to it as an example of his efforts toward economic development — the new Walmart stores will bring about 1,000 permanent jobs to Dallas.

And Neumann said Walmart has assured him that the new Oak Cliff Walmart, which will be smaller than a typical Neighborhood Market store, will “match and meet the neighborhood’s needs”. He said, “that is a pledge”.

Neumann’s opponent in the May election, Scott Griggs, is less than happy about the Walmart on Fort Worth Avenue, a corridor that is one of his pet causes.

“Too often in the southern sector, we settle,” he says. “We get the vision in place, the zoning in place, and then we settle.”

And that’s what happened with the Fort Worth Avenue Walmart, he says.

“This 18 acres is the last vacant 18 acres in north Oak Cliff,” he says. “Let’s don’t settle. Let’s make it something that will be around for generations.”

We’ll have more on the forum, which also included mayoral candidates David Kunkle and Mike Rawlings, today.