Local developer ends his third attempt to build a racetrack and casino near this hallowed Civil War battlefield.
On June 14, 2017, businessman David LeVan cancelled his proposal to build a casino and racetrack near Gettysburg National Military Park. Referred to as the Mason-Dixon Downs proposal, the project was LeVan’s third attempt at building a casino near Gettysburg, a site that remembers those who fought and died in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
Thousands of heritage preservation advocates spoke out against this ill-conceived project. This casino proposal was the wrong choice for Gettysburg because:
- Gettysburg National Military Park attracts over 1 million visitors each year and provides proven economic benefits to the community through heritage tourism.
- A casino could have spurred a ripple effect of future development between the proposed build site and the national park that would be incompatible with the rural and historic nature of the surrounding landscape.
- The rural townships in the park’s southern communities are not currently equipped to manage the infrastructure needs of such ripple effect development, which would have placed a burden on township funds and tax dollars.
- Gettysburg Battlefield is a memorial to the fallen and a sacred place to reflect on essential lessons of our nation’s past. The town is a family-friendly, hospitable destination. A race track and casino can be located many places — but there’s only one Gettysburg.
In the summer of 1863, the farming community of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, became the site of the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. The fierce fighting left 51,000 soldiers wounded, killed or captured in its wake, turning farm fields into graveyards and churches into hospitals. The preservation of the battlefield and the establishment of Gettysburg National Cemetery are testaments to the resolve of Gettysburg residents to not only rebuild their town but also to honor the fallen. Today, over 1 million visitors come to this hallowed ground each year to learn about this pivotal and protected piece of American history.
No casino should be granted a Gettysburg address. Although this project was stopped, the state of Pennsylvania could allow more casino licenses in the future, keeping the possibility for a future project alive. NPCA remains vigilant against any such inappropriate development near this iconic national park.
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