Jan 27, 2011
Wal-Mart drops plan to build near Civil War site
Jan 27, 2011
Jan 26 - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it has dropped plans to build a superstore near the site of an historic 1864 Civil War battlefield in Virginia, bowing to pressure from preservationists.
The world's largest retailer had been approved to build on the 52-acre site near Orange, Virginia, but ran into strong opposition from those looking to preserve the site near one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
The Battle of the Wilderness, considered one of the war's turning points, marked the first clash between the two sides' top generals -- Ulysses Grant for the Union and Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy.
The three-day battle among an estimated 185,000 troops left some 30,000 dead, injured or missing.
Wal-Mart said it would look for an alternative site for its store.
"It really was a question of balancing the need for economic development with the need for historic preservation," Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz said in a telephone interview.
"There was a lot of controversy. The preservationists believed it was not the right site," Wertz said.
"We decided the right thing to do was to preserve the site and look for something else," said Wertz, adding that Wal-Mart was exploring several alternatives.
"Hopefully we'll pick something everyone can agree is a good site," Wertz said.
By Bill Berkrot
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; editing by Carol Bishopric)
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