Civil War Trust to Buy 26 Acres on Baltimore Pike


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EJ Zander

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#42
I ran across this thread and felt compelled to sign up so I could share my perspective.

I was born, raised, and currently reside in zipcode 17325 (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania). I remember when Route 15 was only one lane in each direction and Jamesway and Ames were the places to buy household staples in the pre-Walmart era.

The reality that few realize is that in the borough of Gettysburg, tourists and historians are treated like kings and queens and the working locals are the peasants. Can you imagine a town of 5120 people (plus 2500 college students) that supports millions of visitors every single year? I am one of those 5120 people.

The jobs in/around Gettysburg are not as plentiful nor supportive as you might think. If you aren't employed by the local school district, elitist college, local hospital or medical/dental practices, family-supportive incomes are difficult to come by and generally require you to possess entrepreneurial traits, work several jobs, or spend a lot of time commuting. I have been commuting 35 miles to Frederick, MD for the last 7 years and before that commuted even further to Mechanicsburg, PA to find a family-supportive income. The largest local commercial employer used to be Schindler Elevator, but the flagging economy left them no choice but to ditch their huge hydraulic elevator facility and build a smaller footprint facility elsewhere. This is happening to many other businesses in the area.

Another lesser known fact is that 40% of the properties in the borough of Gettysburg are TAX-EXEMPT. Yes, you read that correctly. My household has a single income and supports 7 people, and we are part of the 60% of properties that pay taxes to support this small town through our $5000 a year property tax bill on a quarter acre lot with a 1970's era single family home. Then there's the 1.7% earned income tax (EIT) on top of the 3.07% state income tax. You probably wonder how we can afford to live here! The truth of the matter is that we love this place and call it our home, but that does not mean that it comes easy.

As you can imagine, the Gettysburg Borough is plagued with budgetary issues year after year due to the lack of revenue. Both the property tax base and the local EIT tax base are falling. The third major area of revenue, parking revenue (fees and fines), seems to be the only area that is seeing a modest uptick. And recent lawsuits surrounding actions at the borough police department are only complicating matters. This is truly sad.

How about the pillow tax??? Surely THAT must be a significant source of revenue for Gettysburg, right?? Millions of tourists pouring into local hotels. What do you think that amounts to for the borough annually?? How about $150,000 a year on an aggregate $8.4 million budget for 2017? That comes to around 10 cents per visitor. Seriously, I am not kidding. You can't even buy a gumball for 10 cents anymore! Would you say tourists are paying their fair share for Gettysburg's infrastructure (roads, bridges, utilities, etc.) and services (police, fire, etc.)?

As for a local sales tax, the state of Pennsylvania does not permit it for places with such a small population (only Allegheny County and Philadelphia have a local sales tax in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).

So, you might ask, how can you as a tourist or historian support Gettysburg to help ensure its future? You could wait to see if the local and state governments can get their act together and pass common sense legislation to adequately fund this battlefield town. OR, as a tourist you could willingfully donate money (alongside your donations to the CWT) to the Gettysburg borough, police, fire, and schools. Yes, it does sound absurd, but truthfully, nobody is stopping tourists and historians from being generous and kind-hearted. Afterall, there are REAL people who call this place their home, and REAL children who go to school here and dream about raising a family here. If you LOVE Gettysburg why wouldn't you consider preserving both the battlefield AND the battlefield town. We all know that governments are reactionary, so things will continue to worsen here until a breaking point is reached. It takes citizens and patriots to be PROACTIVE. So, I challenge those of you with power, influence, and/or the means to please STEP UP.

I encourage you to read the Manager's Budget Message and the Gettysburg Borough Budgets for more insight. They can be found at: https://www.gettysburgpa.gov/budgets


And that 1.7% EIT has to be payed up front in quarterly installments if your self employed or employer does'nt take it out for you. I have to file with the YATB 5 times per year.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#43
Putting the issue of taxes aside, how many residents of the town owe at least part of their livelihood to the revenue generated by the tourism industry - hotels, restaurants, shops? When part of the core ground is paved over for a shopping mall, like the Camp Letterman hospital, or a golf course alters the terrain over which troops advanced, it begins to detract a bit from the overall experience for a visitor. Why not put forth the effort to add to what little core ground remains that has escaped development thus far? It can only to help increase tourism, which translates into jobs and wealth for the residents.

This is an old thread and I missed it- but is that where that blasted mall is? Letterman? Good Grief. Really? Honest. Will never shop there again. May sound extreme and I do understand all about revenue, tax bases- but.... Letterman?

Paved over. For shopping. I hope the whole thing is well and truly haunted. By Sophronia Bucklin and whomever she can find to help.

Please, please no one post before/afters, on Camp Letterman and that paved market place. I do not drink and will start.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#44
The tax revenue loss is a topic of local discussion.Gettysburg already has the highest real estate tax mill rate in the county and the second highest school tax. Average annual wages in Adams lag behind all neighboring counties.
Here is a document the discusses all things Adams County.
http://www.adamscounty.us/Dept/Planning/Documents/Statistics/AC_Profile2011-web.pdf

So what if finally the government paid up on losses , post battle? All the churches combined were given 500 bucks to split, that's it. They'd been hospitals, wounded from North and South were carried there. Those losses were shattering- blood soaked pews, floors carpets, broken windows- the 500 bucks may have replaced paper for weekly bulletins. I don't think any farmers were recompensed for damages, were they? You did not see anything but claims denied. Yes, seems silly after 150 years. Still. Government- the war- rampaged through a town, left it in shambles, walked away. So, ok, but then wealthy people were the ones responsible for cashing in on tourism, too. Gee whiz. By 1869 we-all-know who tried to organize a ' reunion ' at his brand, new hotel. Officers only.

If citizens, who already took a hit and never seem to have stopped, could get out from under being forever and ever responsible for the battlefield by way of taxes, it'd be great. No economist here. There's some catching up to do. A fund, somewhere, where these expenses could be met seems a bizarre thought, sure. What the citizens lost and continue to be expected to lose is bizarre, too. Not being argumentative- sure, some citizens can earn a living from tourism. Honest, ( as you know ) the entire town cannot.
 

EJ Zander

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#45
So what if finally the government paid up on losses , post battle? All the churches combined were given 500 bucks to split, that's it. They'd been hospitals, wounded from North and South were carried there. Those losses were shattering- blood soaked pews, floors carpets, broken windows- the 500 bucks may have replaced paper for weekly bulletins. I don't think any farmers were recompensed for damages, were they? You did not see anything but claims denied. Yes, seems silly after 150 years. Still. Government- the war- rampaged through a town, left it in shambles, walked away. So, ok, but then wealthy people were the ones responsible for cashing in on tourism, too. Gee whiz. By 1869 we-all-know who tried to organize a ' reunion ' at his brand, new hotel. Officers only.

If citizens, who already took a hit and never seem to have stopped, could get out from under being forever and ever responsible for the battlefield by way of taxes, it'd be great. No economist here. There's some catching up to do. A fund, somewhere, where these expenses could be met seems a bizarre thought, sure. What the citizens lost and continue to be expected to lose is bizarre, too. Not being argumentative- sure, some citizens can earn a living from tourism. Honest, ( as you know ) the entire town cannot.
You are correct. 25% of the population is below the poverty line.
 
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#46
An acquaintance in town has a house, shop, and museum that he says the Park Service has been vigorously after for many years. His expectation is that once his elderly father passes, that they will be forced off their land by taxes, and that the Park Service will finally acquire the family's property. Some locals have told me that they are convinced, that the Park Service's goal seems to them to acquire all of Gettysburg and turn it into Gettysburgville complete with paid reenactors, sort of like Williamsburg ..... Personally, I would not know what the truth is, but I suspect that they may be correct.
I suspect you are referring to the Marinos property.......Spiros is a great guy and I hope with his dad's passing, they are able to keep the house, museum and basically their home.
 

James N.

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#47
I ran across this thread and felt compelled to sign up so I could share my perspective.

I was born, raised, and currently reside in zipcode 17325 (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania). I remember when Route 15 was only one lane in each direction and Jamesway and Ames were the places to buy household staples in the pre-Walmart era.

The reality that few realize is that in the borough of Gettysburg, tourists and historians are treated like kings and queens and the working locals are the peasants. Can you imagine a town of 5120 people (plus 2500 college students) that supports millions of visitors every single year? I am one of those 5120 people.

The jobs in/around Gettysburg are not as plentiful nor supportive as you might think. If you aren't employed by the local school district, elitist college, local hospital or medical/dental practices, family-supportive incomes are difficult to come by and generally require you to possess entrepreneurial traits, work several jobs, or spend a lot of time commuting. I have been commuting 35 miles to Frederick, MD for the last 7 years and before that commuted even further to Mechanicsburg, PA to find a family-supportive income. The largest local commercial employer used to be Schindler Elevator, but the flagging economy left them no choice but to ditch their huge hydraulic elevator facility and build a smaller footprint facility elsewhere. This is happening to many other businesses in the area.

Another lesser known fact is that 40% of the properties in the borough of Gettysburg are TAX-EXEMPT. Yes, you read that correctly. My household has a single income and supports 7 people, and we are part of the 60% of properties that pay taxes to support this small town through our $5000 a year property tax bill on a quarter acre lot with a 1970's era single family home. Then there's the 1.7% earned income tax (EIT) on top of the 3.07% state income tax. You probably wonder how we can afford to live here! The truth of the matter is that we love this place and call it our home, but that does not mean that it comes easy.

As you can imagine, the Gettysburg Borough is plagued with budgetary issues year after year due to the lack of revenue. Both the property tax base and the local EIT tax base are falling. The third major area of revenue, parking revenue (fees and fines), seems to be the only area that is seeing a modest uptick. And recent lawsuits surrounding actions at the borough police department are only complicating matters. This is truly sad.

How about the pillow tax??? Surely THAT must be a significant source of revenue for Gettysburg, right?? Millions of tourists pouring into local hotels. What do you think that amounts to for the borough annually?? How about $150,000 a year on an aggregate $8.4 million budget for 2017? That comes to around 10 cents per visitor. Seriously, I am not kidding. You can't even buy a gumball for 10 cents anymore! Would you say tourists are paying their fair share for Gettysburg's infrastructure (roads, bridges, utilities, etc.) and services (police, fire, etc.)?

As for a local sales tax, the state of Pennsylvania does not permit it for places with such a small population (only Allegheny County and Philadelphia have a local sales tax in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).

So, you might ask, how can you as a tourist or historian support Gettysburg to help ensure its future? You could wait to see if the local and state governments can get their act together and pass common sense legislation to adequately fund this battlefield town. OR, as a tourist you could willingfully donate money (alongside your donations to the CWT) to the Gettysburg borough, police, fire, and schools. Yes, it does sound absurd, but truthfully, nobody is stopping tourists and historians from being generous and kind-hearted. Afterall, there are REAL people who call this place their home, and REAL children who go to school here and dream about raising a family here. If you LOVE Gettysburg why wouldn't you consider preserving both the battlefield AND the battlefield town. We all know that governments are reactionary, so things will continue to worsen here until a breaking point is reached. It takes citizens and patriots to be PROACTIVE. So, I challenge those of you with power, influence, and/or the means to please STEP UP.

I encourage you to read the Manager's Budget Message and the Gettysburg Borough Budgets for more insight. They can be found at: https://www.gettysburgpa.gov/budgets
A very insightful post; welcome to the forums!
 

pamc153PA

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#48
This is an old thread and I missed it- but is that where that blasted mall is? Letterman? Good Grief. Really? Honest. Will never shop there again. May sound extreme and I do understand all about revenue, tax bases- but.... Letterman?

Paved over. For shopping. I hope the whole thing is well and truly haunted. By Sophronia Bucklin and whomever she can find to help.

Please, please no one post before/afters, on Camp Letterman and that paved market place. I do not drink and will start.
Well, it's not exactly a mall, more like a strip mall, the Giant supermarket and the Hilton Garden Inn and a couple smaller things. There was a Target proposed years ago, but that was defeated.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#49
Well, it's not exactly a mall, more like a strip mall, the Giant supermarket and the Hilton Garden Inn and a couple smaller things. There was a Target proposed years ago, but that was defeated.

Ah. But Letterman? Speechless.

I don't know, Pam. You know out here in Anthracite country we have a lot of scarred earth- called old strip mines, When the mines went out it was discovered HEY, we could get to what's left just by digging big holes. So they did. Strip off trees, top soil, layers and layers, scoop out coal- then leave. Turn into fetid ponds and lakes- no fresh water feeds and shale bottoms. Or dumps, being handy.

Seems what strip malls are to our landscape. First thing I thought of when they appeared on our landscape. . You know one is coming- trees bulldozed, all of a sudden poof- macadam, shacks, workmen and oh look, a parking lot. It's just a little galling, this particular history falling victim to one. Elegant name not withstanding.
 

pamc153PA

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#52
It looks like the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, the organization that restored the Daniel Lady Farm, is attempting to preserve part of the remaining land on the Camp Letterman site. Additional information is here and here. The first link has a map of the property.
I know the land opposite the Sheetz mart, all the way in the top right of the Google map above, is for sale. I was somewhat worried because there is a huge old tree behind the Subway there that's almost 300 years old, and protected, now.
 

EJ Zander

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#53
I know the land opposite the Sheetz mart, all the way in the top right of the Google map above, is for sale. I was somewhat worried because there is a huge old tree behind the Subway there that's almost 300 years old, and protected, now.
For kicks I looked at an aerial form 1968 of that area. Its the oldest I have and that Oak tree was along a fence row that ran roughly parallel with the back wall of the subway.
 
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#55
Some interesting takes here...

I am a member of the CWT , but have rarely donated to a specific battlefield cause...honestly maybe once to the"Epicenter at Antietam." The issue I have sometimes, is that much of the land acquired is not marketed or added to the existing tours. Maybe this isn't a fair comparison, but when I visited Fredericksburg, the driving tour stops had a decent crowd at each. Then I took my wife to the Slaughter Pen Farm and there was nobody there. And when we stopped in the VC, the guide we spoke with before embarking didn't mention it. It was only because I knew it was there from the CWT, that we went. Same thing at Glendale...so there is a stop on the tour at the Cemetery, but there is a fair amount land preserved. Why isn't there a trail?

So I guess the point is, when land is acquired there needs to be some rethinking of tours and walking paths, etc so more people know about those areas. You have to give people the knowledge it exists, rather than pointing into the same tour over and over. People are less likely to repeat if they don't know new things have been added.

At a place like Gettysburg, the current audio tours are fine, but they should consider tours just for each day...or maybe they already have them and I am the idiot. This way, parcels of land like this can be visited and explored and talked about.

I am not bad mouthing the CWT, but I am critical of what gets done after the land is purchased. I dont know their inner workings, but hopefully they can work a lot on trails/additional battlefield interpretation signs in areas where they have 'saved' land.
do they have tours like 1st day csa or 2nd day usa from the pov people actually knew where they don't spoil what 'the other side' did at the same time? could be done in some sort of 'canned tour' = buy a file for you portable computer (aka cell phone) and saddle up a golf cart. you could put on longstreets shoes and get your orders to the appropriate time.

that could be done down to a regimental level and while of course nobody is shooting at you and obviously no golfcarts for the infantry it would give you the perspective of grunts (especially what they knew was going on - next to nothing). thanks to a certain movie bestseller would probably be three days with 20th maine :D that could trigger a great revisiting value 'next time i ride into town with buford'

oops, sorry for grave digging - didn't look at the dates
 
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#56
I personally like this idea, since my "special place" on the battlefield is Power's Hill, but there is another side to this, as there usually is. If the land is bought by the CWT, it is taken out of the tax base for the town. Gettysburg already is having some issues with decreasing tax base (other businesses closing, along Steinwehr and other places), and after all, this is not just one big battlefield--it's a place where people live and need to make a living. So there's always at least two sides to the story. Just saying.
I appreciate all you say about the real life lives of today and the tax base of Gettysvburg.. I do want to know what you feel about Powers Hill, what is special to you?. Ive always heard of it but have yet to recognize its' importance. Respectfully asked....
 

pamc153PA

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#57
I appreciate all you say about the real life lives of today and the tax base of Gettysvburg.. I do want to know what you feel about Powers Hill, what is special to you?. Ive always heard of it but have yet to recognize its' importance. Respectfully asked....
Well, for one, when the park service opened up the front (east) face of the hill in 2011, it suddenly made me realize how important the artillery on the hill was to defending Culp’s Hill. It opened up a viewshed that I had never seen in almost 20 years of studying the battle. On the other side (quite literally), my gggg-uncle was taken to the field hospital on the George Spangler farm after he was wounded on Day 1 at Barlow’s Knoll. The Spangler farm is visible from south side of Powers Hill and vice versa. I like to think my uncle saw Powers Hill during his time at the Spangler farm. And thirdly, almost no one goes there—I think I’ve run into maybe a half dozen others there in all the times I’ve been up there in the last 7 years.
 

James N.

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#58
I appreciate all you say about the real life lives of today and the tax base of Gettysvburg.. I do want to know what you feel about Powers Hill, what is special to you?. Ive always heard of it but have yet to recognize its' importance. Respectfully asked....
Well, for one, when the park service opened up the front (east) face of the hill in 2011, it suddenly made me realize how important the artillery on the hill was to defending Culp’s Hill. It opened up a viewshed that I had never seen in almost 20 years of studying the battle...
It's hard to tell from this poor photo, but the 3" ordnance rifle is pointing in the direction of Johnson's Confederates attacking Culp's Hill.

dsc05134-jpg.jpg
 



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