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Walmart gives up on Civil War site store

Jan. 26, 2011 at 9:32 PM

ORANGE, Va., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Walmart has abandoned plans to build a superstore in Virginia near the site of a pivotal Civil War battle, an official with the retail chain said.

Bill Wertz, the divisional manager, said Wednesday the company plans to buy the 51 acres intended for the Wilderness Walmart to preserve it as open space, The Orange County Review reported. He said the company is negotiating for another site nearby in Orange County.

Walmart had been planning the store since 2007. But after the county granted a special-use permit, opponents filed a lawsuit that was just about to go to trial.

The Battle of the Wilderness, the first in Gen. Ulysses Grant's 1864 campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, was fought in the area.

The county in a news release defended its decision to grant a special-use permit.

"Forces from largely outside the county, using exaggeration, took advantage of the horrors of the Civil War to achieve their own goals," officials said in a statement.

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