For Immediate Release: 05/07/05
Civil War Preservation Trust Condemns Plan to Build Casino at Gettysburg
(Gettysburg, Pa.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) today condemned plans to build a casino adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park. According to press reports, a group of investors is seeking a license to open a casino at the intersection of U.S. routes 15 and 30, east of Gettysburg. CWPT President James Lighthizer made the following statement in response to the proposal:
"Gettysburg is America's most sacred shrine to our nation's Civil War dead. It was here that Lincoln first talked about a ?new birth of freedom' during ceremonies honoring those who fell in that tragic battle. Gettysburg is such an inappropriate location for a casino it is hard to believe that the proposal is receiving serious consideration. Casinos can be built anywhere; land where thousands of Americans ?gave the last full measure of devotion' cannot be moved.
"Unfortunately, the proposed casino is the symptom of a much larger problem — the avalanche of development that is overwhelming the area along the York Pike near the Route 15 interchange. If steps are not taken quickly to insure this area doesn't further succumb to sprawl, it is likely that unchecked development will eventually overwhelm the battlefield park.
"CWPT is particularly concerned about the proximity of the casino and adjacent sprawl to the East Cavalry Field battle site. In recent years, CWPT has invested considerable resources to further protect the cavalry battleground, and it would be a tragedy if this work was undone because of the casino project.
"In addition to being hallowed ground, the Gettysburg Battlefield is a gold mine for the regional economy. According to a study CWPT released last year, non-local visitors to the battlefield spent more than $121 million in the area, supporting more than 2,650 local jobs and generating more than $17 million in state and local tax revenue. It would be folly to flood that gold mine with a wave of inappropriate development.
"While we have documented proof of the economic benefits provided to the community by preserving the battlefield, the proposed casino is a shot in the dark."
CWPT is a 70,000-member nonprofit battlefield preservation organization. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War sites. CWPT has saved 21,300 acres of hallowed ground, including 342 acres on the Gettysburg Battlefield. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.