Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Piedmont Environmental Council comments on Germanna Walmart

The Piedmont Environmental Council, a member of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition that fought the so-called Wilderness Walmart in Orange County,  issued a press statement today on the company’s proposed site elsewhere in eastern Orange’s State Route 3 corridor:

Throughout 2009 and 2010 PEC urged Walmart to consider alternative sites for their development proposal, sites that were further removed from Wilderness Battlefield than their original location. Each of the alternative sites had unique challenges, and some were better suited than others. It was our sincere hope that the corporation would consult with us prior to selecting a site so that we could alert them to specific challenges they would face for each. Unfortunately, we were not consulted prior to Walmart’s final selection of a new site.

We recognize that there are significant and well-founded concerns with the new location. We have encouraged and continue to encourage citizens and community groups, such as the Germanna Foundation, to express those concerns to the elected officials that will make the ultimate decision on the proposed Walmart site. We also encourage county officials and Walmart to make every attempt to work with the community and incorporate appropriate mitigation measures in order to both protect the important historic resources of Orange County, while continuing to promote and encourage economic development in the County.

Perfect sites are few and far between. For a development of this size and nature, finding a location that can address the concerns of the community, satisfy the developer, and provide the economic development the County desires, all while protecting the important historic resources located throughout the Route 3 corridor, is not easy. From its role in two major battles of the Civil War, the Germanna Settlement to the past Native American uses, this corridor has a rich history and one that often comes into conflict with the current development plans of both the County and speculative development interests that control most of the land holdings along Route 3 between the Rapidan River and Route 20.

Given these challenges, we do believe that the new Walmart site is better than the previous site because:

–It is on a previously disturbed, commercially zoned site.

–It is closer to residential development and zoning that will be the likely future customer base. This cuts down on traffic and other associated transportation impacts.

–It is removed from the most significant lands related to the Wilderness campaign, a nationally significant historic resource.