Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 05/23/11
New Orange Walmart Site Good for Battlefield and County, Preservationists Say
Walmart announcement reconfirms corporation’s commitment to build its Orange County superstore away from the Wilderness Battlefield
(Orange County, Va.) – In a statement issued today, national retailer Walmart announced its decision to build its proposed Orange County superstore at the intersection of State Route 3 and Somerset Ridge Road. The location is three miles west of its previously selected site, which was on historically sensitive land adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield National Park.
In the wake of the announcement, four organizations that were vocal in their opposition to the previous plan — the Civil War Trust, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Piedmont Environment Council —praised Walmart for its decision to move the proposed superstore farther from the Wilderness Battlefield gateway. According to the preservation groups, the decision is “good for the battlefield and good for the county.”
Individual statements from the four organizations appear below:
James Lighthizer, President, Civil War Trust: “By honoring its public commitment to choose an alternate site in Orange County, Walmart has demonstrated that preservation groups and retailers can work together to find universally beneficial resolutions. We could not be more pleased with Walmart’s decision to move away from the battlefield.”
Zann Nelson, President, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield: “Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and its preservation partners never opposed an Orange County Walmart in principle. We stood firm on the theory that there could be a mutually beneficial resolution and are gratified that Walmart, too, has embraced this philosophy.”
Stephanie Meeks, President, The National Trust for Historic Preservation: “The new Walmart location is a win-win solution that benefits the citizens of Orange County, the retailer and the preservation of a nationally significant place. This outcome proves that protecting our national heritage, and advancing Orange County’s development goals, can go hand in hand.”
Chris Miller, President, Piedmont Environmental Council: “The new location is more appropriate for a major retail venture, as it is farther removed from significant lands related to the battle and located among other commercially zoned properties, nearer to residential areas on Route 3. This constructive outcome is a prime example of how a balance can be struck between conservation and economic development.”
The Civil War Trust, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Piedmont Environmental Council are proud members of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, an alliance of preservation groups that seeks to promote protection and appreciation of the Wilderness. Throughout debate over the controversial Wilderness Walmart proposal, the Coalition consistently advocated for moving the proposed Walmart away from the battlefield, to an area of Orange County more suitable for commercial development. On January 26, 2011, Walmart announced that it was dropping plans to build on the battlefield in favor of finding an alternate location elsewhere along the Route 3 corridor and that it intended to preserve the 52-acre site that had initially been selected.
About the Civil War Trust
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 207 acres on the Wilderness Battlefield. Learn more by visiting www.Civilwar.org.
About the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB)
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Inc. is a non-profit, all volunteer organization devoted to assisting the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in efforts to preserve the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange and Spotsylvania Counties. The Friends provide advocacy, educational programs and service projects for the battlefield. Learn more by visiting www.fowb.org.
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. Learn more by visiting www.PreservationNation.org.
About the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC)
The Piedmont Environmental Council is a grassroots nonprofit emphasizing the links between city and country, nature and people, conserving and creating. PEC works to safeguarding the landscapes, communities and heritage of Virginia’s Piedmont region by involving citizens in public policy and land conservation. PEC has facilitated the permanent conservation of 300,000 acres across its nine-county region. The organization actively advocates on behalf of air and water quality, wildlife habitats, energy solutions and sustainable communities. Learn more by visiting www.pecva.org.