In Pennsylvania, a local businessman has reportedly announced that he intends to apply for the state’s last remaining harness racing license and open a track near the town of Gettysburg before applying for permission to inaugurate a casino on the site.
According to a report from local television broadcaster WHTM-TV, David LeVan wants to construct his Mason-Dixon Downs facility on a site in Adams County bordering the famous demarcation line of 1767 and approximately 2.5 miles south-east of the Eisenhower Hotel And Conference Center, where he had hoped to construct a similar facility in 2011.
“I think it would be tremendous,” LeVan, who owns area motorcycle dealership Battlefield Harley-Davidson, told WHTM-TV. “The economic impact [and] the jobs impact; it would be absolutely phenomenal.”
Levan reportedly told the television broadcaster that concerns expressed by earlier opponents to a casino that gaming would bring increased levels of crime and traffic have not come to fruition while other Pennsylvania communities are benefiting from thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in grants from the gaming industry.
Mason-Dixon Downs would be located about 3.2 miles from Gettysburg National Military Park and WHTM-TV reported that this has prompted protests from some historians and traditionalists. But, LeVan declared that Pennsylvania already has casinos that sit far closer to national historic sites such as Valley Forge Casino Resort, which is across the street from Valley Forge National Park in the town of King Of Prussia. In addition, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and Liberty Bell are less than two miles from SugarHouse Casino while Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin is only three miles from the Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Fayette County.
Levan reportedly proclaimed that his development would promote the history of the Civil War battlefield site, bring jobs to the area and attract more visitors, which would lead to millions of dollars for local businesses.
One of these, Hanover Shoe Farms, is about ten miles from the proposed site for Mason-Dixon Downs, which would be around 45 miles south of the state capital of Harrisburg and approximately 53 miles from Baltimore, Maryland, and breeds horses for harness racing. Co-owner Jim Simpson reportedly has pregnant mares at his facility that are due to give birth in three to four months and explained that these animals would be able to race at Mason-Dixon Downs.
“It would be great,” Simpson told WHTM-TV. “It would be great for the industry and great for this farm.”
In order to make Mason-Dixon Downs a reality, WHTM-TV reported that LeVan will need zoning approval and obtain millions of dollars in capital before securing the harness racing and casino licenses.