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Orange County officials, landowners, preservationists agree on vision for Wilderness battlefield 'gateway'
Glenn Stach of Hill Studio and Zann Nelson of Friends of Wilderness Battlefield confer at Saunders Field.
Dan McFARLAND /THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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"The gateway study presents Orange County with an extraordinary opportunity to effectively plan the development of the Route 3 corridor," King said. "But its success will require the leadership and full support of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and all involved stakeholders."
Nelson and Stach said that cooperation is remarkable, given that just two years ago the parties were "slinging mud at one another," as one Orange supervisor said then.
Walmart Stores Inc.'s plan to build a Supercenter near Routes 3 and 20, a cannon-shot from the park, aroused national opposition and put the county in court versus preservation groups.
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield's lawsuit persuaded Walmart to change its mind. The retailer now plans to build a store farther west along Route 3 near Germanna Community College's Locust Grove campus.
Now, Phase II of the gateway study has produced a detailed blueprint for 3,000 undeveloped acres north of Route 3.
The plan recommends sites for the traditionally styled Wilderness Village, a business campus along Pilgrim Church Road and a regional park along the Rapidan, as well as new public infrastructure and a Route 3 commercial area with sign-age guidelines.
"We worked to find common ground and identify positive direction for win-win development and preservation solutions," Nelson said. "Our group will continue discussing the plan with leaders in Orange County, neighboring counties and with other key stakeholders to build active partnerships for implementation."
Orange County, the Civil War Trust, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Piedmont Environmental Council contributed funding for the Phase II study.Study: wildernessgateway.org
Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029