How Did The No Casino Gettysburg Movement Start?
How did the No Casino Gettysburg movement start? Let’s know right away. The opposition to the casino idea at Gettysburg began the day Crossroads announced its intentions in April 2005. In 2005 a proposal was put forward to build a casino with 3,000 slot machines less than a mile from the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) its aim of preserving American Civil War battlefields, joined forces with a local concerned citizens group called No Casino Gettysburg to advocate against the proposal , soon after the announcement of the proposal. Forming the Stop the Slots Coalition, a collection of national and local groups opposed to the casino, the CWPT also pursued an aggressive media campaign to raise public awareness about the casino, along with its coalition partners.
The local groups opposing the casinos held public meetings, seminars, and a candlelight vigil. They met with various local officials where the casino proposal was to be discussed, producing voluminous research on economic impact, wearing their signature 'No Casino Gettysburg' t-shirts. Spending months on the street corners in Gettysburg with 'No Casino' merchandise and petitions, these volunteers openly expressed their opposition to the placement of a casino near the Gettysburg civil war battle site.
An initial closed door press meeting held by casino investors announcing the proposal left many residents feeling deprived and marginalized. The incident only led to aggravate the anger and concern of the local, which played a key role in igniting civic engagement. Acting quickly, while feelings were still running high, the firm foundation for the No Casino Gettysburg campaign was laid during the second meeting among the residents , eight days after the press conference.
Conducting an "appreciative inquiry," trying to identify the things the local people valued and wanted, the unique history and the friendly family atmosphere of the small town emerged as top preservation priorities. The start of the No Casino Gettysburg movement began building core partnerships with individuals and organizations to help preserve the historical character of Gettysburg. The Civil War Preservation Trust gave No Casino Gettysburg a considerable portion of its operating budget of $70,000, which was mostly used to cover legal expenses associated with a legal battle within the townships.
CWPT also circulated a petition opposing the casino, which eventually included more than 34,200 signatures. Rebutting many of the economic benefit claims of the casino backers, it condemned the casino with an op-ed that appeared on the opinion page of the New York Times.