Public discussion draws mixed opinions on bringing a mini casino to Shippensburg

An opportunity to bring more than 300 jobs and $1.8 million a year to Cumberland County is on the horizon.

“If we don’t have this in our immediate area, all that money is going to go elsewhere,” said W. Mickey Nye, a Shippensburg resident.

Greenwood Gaming has submitted an application to build a ten acre mini-casino off of Exit 29 along I-81 in Shippensburg Township.

And Monday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board took the time to listen to people who live in Cumberland County about whether or not they want it.

Greenwood Gaming began with a presentation about what a casino could do for Cumberland County.

Right now, they own and operate Parx Casino in Berks County, which is the most successful casino in the state.

And if the proposed mini-casino is as successful as that one – it has the potential to improve the region as a whole.

“The township is going to be able to use that to support local EMS, they’re going to be able to use it to improve local roads and some utilities in the area, it could help fire companies as well. Some possible scholarship opportunities for Shippensburg University,” said Nye.

But others have some concerns.

Shippensburg Borough Police Chief Meredith Dominick says she’s not against the mini casino coming to the area, but she does want to make sure they have the resources to handle it.

Right now, she says Shippensburg Township does not have a police force, and it typically falls on Shippensburg Borough to cover that area.

And Chief Dominick says the borough’s department is already short handed.

“Knowing that there will probably be a demand with this casino, we want to be able to respond and come when needed. And that means we need to have current equipment, current officers not be in any type of a deficit or with things that are going to break or fall apart on us,” said Chief Dominick.

And then, of course, are the people flat out against the casino, concerned it will do more harm than good for the community.

“Generally what happens is they have a big boom when they open and things are great. And boy it spirals down very quickly, and very quickly you end up with none of these things except property values have gone down, the older people are poorer than they were before,” said Janet Rose, a Shippensburg resident.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will now meet to discuss what they heard.

We are told they should have a final decision about whether or not they will approve the mini casino within a couple of months.

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