No surprise that The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg decided to comment on this past weeks decision in Orange County to allow Walmart to build just off of the Wilderness Battlefield. The editorial comes down hard on both the four Orange County supervisors who voted in favor of Walmart as well as Walmart’s business practices. The editor accuses the supervisors of engaging in “ornery provincialism against the forces of decent compromise” and characterizes Walmart as motivated by an “insatiable hunger for world retail conquest” as well as other corrupt business practices.
What I fail to see is how such an editorial is even possible given the reality of commercial development and urban sprawl that can be found all along Rt. 3, outside Fredericksburg. Does Fredericksburg really have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to developing historically significant ground? More importantly, what I would like to know is how many of those large outlets on Rt. 3 contain commercial chains whose business practices rival or even outpace those of Walmart’s. It seems to me that the values that led to the decision of the Orange County Board of Supervisors to grant Walmart its petition are the very same that can be found along Rt. 3 in Fredericksburg. In fact, one could easily argue that it is the people of Fredericksburg who paved the way for Walmart.