Earlier this week, the owners of Parx Casino in Bucks County filed an application to open a mini-casino in Shippensburg right off the King Street Exit on Interstate-81.
The township needs to make a final approval, but after speaking to supervisors, it seems like a safe bet.
“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to Shippensburg, and I’m all 100 percent behind it,” said Cindy Byers, Shippensburg resident.
Over a year ago, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment submitted plans to build a mini-casino within a 15-mile radius that fell within Cumberland and Franklin County. Shippensburg township officials went all in on a whim.
“We never thought it would be us. I mean, even clear up to the end we thought it would be in Greene Township in the Chambersburg Mall,” said Linda Asper, Shippensburg Township Supervisor.
Heavier traffic is a worry, but officials said in this case, ‘location, location location,’ is perfect.
“I know so many people are concerned about the negative things this is going to bring to the community, but it’s right there at 81. People do not have a reason to come into Shippensburg,” Asper said.
“I think it’s somewhat remote to the town of Shippensburg. It’s right along the interstate. I don’t think we’re gonna see that much activity in town from it,” said Danny Byers, Vigilant Hose Fire Company, president.
The real winner? The fire department. The university makes up a third of Shippensburg, but its tax exempt. The casino is not, so let the good times and revenue roll.
“We just saw this as a way to help our emergency services, our fire departments, so on, and to help us, as a municipality,” Asper said.
The fire department spends a lot of time fundraising to pay off a new, multi-million dollar building.
“We can spend more time training and running emergency calls than fundraising,” Byers said.
The fire department is all in, but township supervisors hold the cards and must give final approval.
An official with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said there will be a public input meeting in the near future.
If approved, the casino will open in 2020.