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WalMart, Target eyeing a big Thanksgiving night in Bedford

BEDFORD - WalMart and Target in Bedford will join other locations in opening on Thanksgiving.

Each has received permission from the Planning Board to extend their hours to run through the night on Thanksgiving and into Black Friday.

Target will be open beginning at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving and will remain open until Friday at 11 p.m.

WalMart will open at 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving and will remain open until Friday at 10 p.m.

At its meeting on Nov. 5, the Planning Board accepted a site plan amendment from Target to extend its already-amended holiday hours to include the hours from 11 p.m. on Thursday to 6 a.m. on Friday, despite concerns brought up by one resident.

Abby Tucker, who lives on Back River Road, submitted a letter to the board concerning the store's extended hours last year.

Tucker said she was awoken by Target delivery trucks between the hours of 4 and 5 a.m. and lights shone into her bedroom, keeping her awake two nights in a row.

The planning board allowed the store to hold extended hours if it agrees to address lighting and delivery issues. It must also coordinate extra police details to address extra traffic issues on both days.

WalMart, which received permission to extend its hours in September, said the 24-hour opening would be an experiment for this year.

The store was granted permission to open at 7 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, and from midnight to 11 p.m. on Black Friday.

Greg Michael, the attorney for WalMart who presented the request to the board, said the store would only be extending its opening by 10 hours.

Planning Board member Karen McGinley said the extended hours may make sense to avoid large crowds of people on Black Friday, which could be unsafe.

"It seems to me that this opening all day on Thanksgiving would alleviate the rush of people, not create a rush of people," she said.

WalMart was originally asked to coordinate additional police coverage for 48 consecutive hours, but that was reduced based on the actual hours of operation presented to the board.

WalMart must also work with the Bedford Police to schedule additional police details.

Police Chief John Bryfonski said the necessity for police presence won't adversely affect patrol coverage, as detail officers are hired by the stores.

"The requirements for these details are the same as all others," he said, which are based on public safety issues.

In this case, Bryfonski said, crowd, traffic and noise are the primary reasons why it is necessary to have police presence at the stores during the extended store hours.

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