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WASHINGTON - The National Trust for Historic Preservation included the state of Vermont today in its annual list of most endangered historic places because of an "onslaught of big-box" stores by Wal-Mart, according to Reuters.
Trust president Richard Moe said Wal-Mart planned to "saturate" Vermont -- known for its quaint villages, winding back roads and strong sense of community -- with seven new "Super Stores." He said the stores would spur more development and sprawl, and would lead to disinvestment in historic downtown areas and a loss of locally owned business.
In an interview with Reuters, Moe pointed out that Vermont also made its list in 1993 for the same reasons.
He criticized Wal-Mart and other retailers for not consulting properly with local communities before building giant stores. "We think Wal-Mart and other big box retailers should work with communities and have stores of a size and a design which are compatible with the community," he said.
In Vermont, Moe said there were currently four Wal-Mart Stores amounting to about 300,000 square feet of space and the company proposed quadrupling this to at least 1.3 million square feet in seven new stores.
"Vermont is a small state and it is uniquely a state of small towns. There is no question the character of this state will be dramatically changed if those seven stores are built," he said.
Wal-Mart said it had not yet seen the new list and would comment when it had more details.