Community sounds off on proposed Adams County casino

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FREEDOM TWP., Pa. - Developers here in Adams County have tried twice before to bring a casino to the Gettysburg area, and now they're hoping the third time is a charm.

The proposed Mason-Dixon Downs casino and racetrack would provide a full casino with harness horse racing just miles south of the Gettysburg National Military Park.

"I can drive down the street to go to a casino rather than 2 hours away," Autumn Boyd, who lives down the road from the proposed casino site, said. "I've never been to one, and I really want to go to one but they're so far away. I have yet to go."

David LeVan, an Adams County businessman who owns Battlefield Harley-Davidson, is leading the casino's development proposal. He was unavailable for an on-camera interview Thursday.

"Local and county governments, businesses, and citizens have reaped incredible benefits from casino projects," he said in a statement to FOX43. "Unfortunately, Adams County has not...I respectfully submit that it's our turn."

Other area residents agree.

"I feel this way it's coming one way or the other," Rose Garrigan, who lives near the site, said. "They can't get it down by the battlefields, which we understand because of Gettysburg's history. It's an open field and I think that'll probably create some jobs."

The No Casino Gettysburg group, once again, is fighting the casino proposal after helping defeat it the first two times. It drafted an online petition against the project that has more than 3,300 signatures as of Thursday night.

"The nation is infuriated at the idea of taking this hallowed ground and putting a casino anywhere near it," Susan Paddock, chairperson of No Casino Gettysburg, said. "It's a failing proposition because there simply aren't enough people here to make a casino work."

Local approval from Freedom Township isn't the only thing that developers would need. It would still need to get approval from the state horse racing commission as well as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which only has one license available.

"It gets into which one is the best which one will make the most money for the state and which one has the least opposition," Jim Paddock, who also opposes the casino proposal, said. "We always have had far more opposition than any other locations."