Last week Virginia's Orange County Board of Supervisors vote to approve the building of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter within the historic boundaries of the
Wilderness Battlefield – and one of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War. The Civil War Preservation Trust has been fighting Wal-Mart on this location for over a year – seeking an alternative location and compromoise – and after last week they desperately need everyones help to stop Wal-Mart from moving forward and opening the door to further destructive development.
Even State Senator Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor, has written a letter to the president and CEO of Wal-Mart pleading with him to move the location off the historic battlefield. Wake-Up Wal-Mart is helping in this fight and you can too by also writing a letter on the Civil War Preservation Trust's website and also help spread the word yourself.
More from Blue Virginia and the Washington Post below:
Lowell at Blue Virginia has reasonably asked on the location:
Maybe I'm missing something here, like the (supposedly) urgent need to build retail right on top of a battlefield where 145,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought and more than 29,000 were killed or injured. Can't this store be located a mile down the road or something? What do you think?
Seems like a sensible question – just not to Wal-Mart. The Washington Post further reports that:
[Civil War Preservation] Trust president Jim Lighthizer called on Wal-Mart to reconsider its decision to build within the footprint of the Wilderness Battlefield, near Fredericksburg, pointing to what he called, “nationwide anger generated by its proposal.”
“The ball is now in Wal-mart's court,” he said. “It's in the corporation's best interest to work with the preservation community to find an alternative site. …We are optimistic that company officials will see the wisdom of moving somewhere else.”
That doesn't sound likely, according to Wal-Mart regional spokesman Keith Morris. In an interview he said, “Two years ago, the county decided this site was one where growth should occur. We have looked at alternative sites and there are other sites but they require rezoning. There is no guarantee the county would approve another site.”
Morris pointed to the county planning commission's second and little-noticed Aug. 20 4-3 vote that reversed a decision of the night before, when that commission deadlocked on the issue. A deadlock is considered a negative vote. Morris said that second vote was an indication of the county's strong interest in seeing the store built at the proposed site.
There is a possibility that the Trust, as the lead organization of the Wilderness Coalition, will turn to the courts and appeal the board's decision. Officials are debating their next step now.
Again, please help by writing a letter on the Civil War Preservation Trust's website and spreading the word online.