South Middleton says no to mini-casino

Carlisle/West Shore

South Middleton Township’s board of supervisors decided it does not want to bring a mini-casino to the area.

Residents at Thursday’s discussion had mixed feelings on the decision.

“Does Boiling Springs, South Middleton really need a casino? I don’t think so,” said Gary Schaszberger from Faith Chapel. 

Some South Middleton residents made it clear that they do not want the possibility of a mini-casino on the table. 

“Isn’t it really about the culture of the town and the sentiment of the people, and the sentiment I’m seeing and I’m feeling is no,” said Jennifer Aro, a township resident.

The township originally opted out months ago but reconsidered when the owner of the Parx Casino in Bethlehem expressed interest in the area.

Marx Stewart, a lawyer for Greenwood Gaming, tried to address concerns.

“We bring with us hundreds of good paying jobs, a business that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity over the course over a very short period of time, $50 million annually,” said Stewart.

There were several people at the meeting who supported the idea of a mini-casino in the township. Many spoke about potential economic benefits.

“There is a very large upside here for how we will be able to deal with the future growth of this community, what this money could do for us,” said Jason Gottesman, a township resident.

If the board opted back into the mini-casino process, it couldn’t change its mind.

“It is said that a casino would decrease property values,” board member Rick Reighard said. “It’s very likely that a huge increase in taxes would also do the same. I guess what I’m hearing is that that’s preferable to having a mini-casino.”

Walnut Bottom Road was the rumored location for the proposed project.

In the end, three of the five supervisors at the discussion decided it wasn’t worth the gamble.

“Traffic is almost at a standing point now,” board vice president Tom Faley said. “You put 500 cars on top of that, you really have a challenge. My personal feeling is you ought to leave the issue alone.”

Greenwood Gaming says Parx will consider locations in Shippensburg and Greene townships.

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