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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Battle over the battlefield

Despite opposition from Vermont and lots of other places, a Virginia county board has approved a Walmart store near key Civil War battlefields.

Vermont historian Howard Coffin rallied the state Legislature to take a stand against it. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., joined in.

Today, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to grant a special permit after a hearing at which many residents spoke in favor of the store. From the Associated Press:

ORANGE, Va. (AP) Local officials early Tuesday approved a Walmart Supercenter near one of the nations most important Civil War battlefields, a proposal that had stirred opposition by preservationists and hundreds of historians.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to grant the special permit to the worlds biggest retailer after a majority of more than 100 speakers said they favored bringing the Walmart to Locust Grove, within a cannonballs shot from the Wilderness Battlefield.
Historians and Civil War buffs are fearful the Walmart store will draw traffic and more commerce to an area within the historic boundaries of the Wilderness, where generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first met in battle 145 years ago and where 145,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought and more than 29,000 were killed or injured. One-fourth of the Wilderness is protected.
But they could not sway supervisors, who said they didnt see the threat.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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