Is this really a battle between heritage and commercialization– or just between competing touristic activities? Gettysburg is undoubtedly an American Shrine but it has also become a heavily marketed vacation destination. And with wine-tasting, romantic getaways, golf courses, and a nearby theme park, will the memory of the fallen really be affected by a few slot machines?
The larger question is not the limits of respectful historic battlefield preservation, but rather the disturbing fact that most of our heritage– battlefield and non-battlefield– has become just another attractively-themed entertainment alternative.
By DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News
March 15, 2010, 12:41AM
Battle lines are being drawn again in Gettysburg. It’s economic development vs. historic preservation as philanthropist and former Conrail CEO David LeVan again tries to win a license for a casino on the outskirts of town.
A casino proposal four years ago was unsuccessful, in part because of heavy community opposition.
LeVan said he will submit a new proposal to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by April 7. His new slots and table games parlor would be much smaller than his proposal in 2006. It would be in an existing building and would be farther from town and closer to the Maryland border, where many prospective casino patrons live.
With pro-casino and no-casino camps disputing the most basic claims of the other, an undercurrent of division snakes through this historic area, which depends on more than a million visitors a year to its Civil War battlefield but which also has seen unemployment more than double in the last five years…
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