Column: Wal-Mart destroying Native ruins in Arizona

"Nobody predicted the Casa Grande Ruins could go down like this, that after hundreds of years of surviving the elements, standing as testament to a civilization that thrived in the desert more than 700 years ago, the adobe walls could crumble because of a Wal-Mart across the street.

Modern development came slowly to the Casa Grande Ruins. For years, the closest business was the Ruins Village Store, a bar that became a drive-through liquor outlet. Coolidge annexed land that included the monument in 1983, setting the stage for Wal-Mart's entrance in 1999. That's when the city approved construction of a 107,000-square-foot store, with its massive, RV-friendly parking lot, right across the street from the monument. A Blockbuster Video followed, as did a Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Safeway expanded a small grocery store south of the ruins and turned it into a strip mall. Park employees give directions like this to the monument: "Go just past the Wal-Mart and turn right at Blockbuster."

Officials with the Casa Grande park saw problems with the Wal-Mart-sparked development across the street. But they did not foresee a squirrel infestation."

Get the Story:
Richard Ruelas: Casa Grande Ruins stand in peril (The Arizona Republic 11/22)

Relevant Links:
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument - http://www.nps.gov/cagr