- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
Developer: Gettysburg, casino can work together
Question of the Day
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A divisive plan to build a casino near the site of the Civil War’s tide-turning Battle of Gettysburg is in the mold of many other communities that have successfully meshed gambling with historical tourist destinations, the developer told state regulators Tuesday.
With opponents enlisting Hollywood power as they rally around the cry of “Save Gettysburg,” developer David LeVan pitched his plan for the Mason Dixon Resort & Casino as a well-worn concept in places such as Vicksburg, Miss., and Deadwood, S.D., that can bring tourists, investment and tax revenue to the Gettysburg area.
The gaming board, which is considering Mason Dixon’s application to build the casino, was listening to comments from casino principals, supporters and opponents at a public meeting near Gettysburg National Military Park.
Dogged opponents responded with a polished video featuring filmmaker Ken Burns, actors Sam Waterston and Matthew Broderick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough and local residents suggesting that the casino’s approval would betray the country’s duty to protect the place where soldiers died to save the nation.
More than 390 people were registered to speak. Mason Dixon is competing with three other groups for a state casino license. Pennsylvania-based casino operator Penn National Gaming Inc. would help finance and run Mason Dixon.
The $75 million plan to transform an existing hotel and conference center less than a mile from the park’s southern boundary is pitting resident against resident. Signs reading “No Casino” and “Pro Casino” dot windows throughout the quaint streets of Gettysburg, which attracts more than a million tourists each year for shopping, eating and lodging.
Opponents say a casino would cheapen the reputation that draws tourists to the town and surrounding 6,000-acre park that mark the site where 160,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought for three days in summer 1863 — about 50,000 of them killed, wounded or captured in the bloodiest battle North America has ever seen.
When it was done, Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac stopped the northward advance by Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, helping deliver a victory to Union forces.
Mr. LeVan, a former Conrail Inc. chairman and well-known local philanthropist and preservationist, lives across the street from the park’s museum and visitor center.
Speaking to the gaming board, he said Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania’s last untapped gambling market — an hour from Baltimore and Washington — and has a lot in common with Vicksburg, where the North won another important Civil War battle in 1863.
A video he showed to gaming board members characterized Vicksburg as a Civil War tourist town that was struggling before the arrival of casinos more than a decade ago helped it draw more tourists and invest in its streets, sewers and qualify of life.
However, opponents counter that casinos have drawn tourists away from downtown Vicksburg, bankrupting businesses and leaving empty storefronts, and challenged Mason Dixon’s revenue projections as unduly rosy and reliant on area residents of modest means.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq