Gettysburg Casino Plan Denied
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Apr. 14, 2011
The die has been cast. There will be no casino in Gettysburg, Pa.
This morning, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted 6-1 to award a gaming license to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort near Pittsburgh, and not to Gettysburg businessman David LeVan, who wanted to build a casino a half-mile south of Gettysburg National Military Park.
"This is the right decision for the people of Adams County, and for the millions of Americans who believe in protecting the sacred sites that tell us who we are as a nation," Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation said in a statement. "When President Lincoln dedicated the Gettysburg Battlefield in 1863, he ensured that this ground would remain sacred soil, a place for the entire nation to visit and remember the sacrifices made on the battlefield."
About 50 people from the grassroots group No Casino Gettysburg awaited the board's decision this morning at the State Museum in Harrisburg, according to Mindy Crawford, executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania.
"We weren't entirely sure how it was going to come out. As soon as the final vote was cast, the No Casino group jumped to their feet and applauded and cheered," Crawford says.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and historian David McCullough, along with tens of thousands of petition-signers, had objected to LeVan's casino proposal, and four groups formed a coalition against it: Preservation Pennsylvania, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Civil War Trust, and the National Parks Conservation Association.
"This is a great day, not just for Gettysburg, but for all historic sites," says Jim Campi, president of the Civil War Trust. "However, we must remember that this proposal was just a symptom of a larger problem—the numerous irreplaceable sites similarly besieged by ill-considered development."
Today is the second time LeVan's proposal for a casino in Gettysburg has been denied. In 2005, preservationists and residents led a grassroots effort to defeat a similar proposal.
"We hope today's decision lays to rest, once and for all, the idea of placing a casino so close to this important historic site," Meeks said. "We are proud to share in this victory with our many partners."
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