Say No To A Casino at Gettysburg
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The Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point in the American Civil War and was a defining moment in our nation’s history. For three days in July 1863, soldiers in blue and grey clashed at Gettysburg in what would become the bloodiest battle ever fought on the North American continent, with more than 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded or captured.
Today, Gettysburg is once again under threat – not from warring armies, but from those who would seek to desecrate the memory of the Americans who fought there by constructing a harness racetrack and casino less than three miles from Gettysburg National Military Park. This is not the first – or even the second – attempt by gaming proponents to locate a casino in the immediate Gettysburg area, but with your help, we can ensure that it is the last.
A harness racetrack and casino so close to the battlefield is not only incompatible with Gettysburg’s solemn legacy, it directly endangers this hallowed ground by encouraging increased development along the southern gateway into Gettysburg, destroying the rural character that has for so long defined this region of Pennsylvania. With over a million annual visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park, this degrading of the visitor experience also threatens the heritage tourism economy that is the lifeblood of the Gettysburg community.
Please sign this petition opposing a harness racetrack and casino at Gettysburg and add your voice to the growing number of concerned citizens who know that Gettysburg is a sacred place that must be preserved and protected for generations to come.
- Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
- Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission
- Freedom Township Board of Supervisors
I write to you today to ask that you stand on the right side of history. In the coming months, you will be asked to consider a proposal to construct a harness racetrack and casino less than three miles from Gettysburg National Military Park, endangering the integrity of one of America’s most sacred places. I urge you to oppose this proposal.
Gettysburg holds a special place in the American psyche. It was here that for three fateful days in July 1863 during the American Civil War, two great armies collided in an epic battle that produced more than 51,000 casualties, including 8,000 Americans who gave “the last full measure of devotion.” To allow for the construction of a harness racetrack and casino so close to the ground where so many Americans gave their lives would be an affront to their memory and a repudiation of President Lincoln’s famous address that noted that those who struggled at Gettysburg had consecrated the battlefield “far above our poor power to add or detract.”
This is the third time that the hallowed fields of Gettysburg have been threatened by a proposal for casino gambling within minutes of the battlefield. In 2006 and 2011, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board wisely rejected Gettysburg casino proposals from the same developer, who again today inflicts upon the Gettysburg community a divisive debate over a plan no more palatable or viable than the two previous failed attempts.
When denying a casino license for the initial proposal in 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board noted that the “Gettysburg area itself is primarily a rural area without large population centers nearby to sustain the casino” – a fact that remains true more than ten years later. Moreover, the past decade has witnessed the arrival and expansion of casino gaming in Maryland, serving to further saturate the regional market and pick off the customers on which a Gettysburg area casino would rely.
It is unlikely that the proposed harness racetrack and casino would be able to remain viable in the long term. What is certain, however, is that this proposal would destroy the historic identity and rural character of south central Adams County. Further, it would cannibalize existing restaurant, entertainment, and recreation businesses in the Gettysburg community, and significantly increase inappropriate development pressures on the battlefield. In commercializing the southern gateway into Gettysburg, this development would have an adverse impact on the visitor experience to Gettysburg National Military Park, threatening the heritage tourism industry that is the economic lifeblood of Gettysburg.
Gettysburg was, and remains, a defining moment in our nation’s history. Please don’t gamble that legacy on a proposal of doubtful viability that burdens a community and degrades a place that should remain, for generations to come, one of solemn reflection and remembrance.
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