Will gambling come to Shippensburg? A public meeting on May 20 could make the decision

April 5 – Parx Casino, a gambling facility owned and operated by Greenwood Racing Inc., located north of center city Philadelphia, has been looking at putting a casino in Shippensburg for a while now.

Parx Casino would purchase the building in the old Lowes complex on Conestoga Drive near Walmart in Shippensburg.

Discussions were held up because of traffic study issues. There was a debate whether Parx Casino may have to contribute to upgrading the 81 interchange at exit 29 due to increased traffic.

That’s been talked about for months, but on a rare Saturday meeting of Shippensburg Township Supervisors this past weekend, Parx Casino was granted the conditional use of the old Lowes building in a unanimous, 3-0 vote.

Apparently the results of the traffic study decided that the casino would not generate more traffic than had previously been there when Lowes was in operation.

A public hearing on May 20 at Shippensburg University could see some concerns raised, but if Parx Casino does bring gambling to Shippensburg, it could generate almost $2 million in local revenue.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the issue on First News this morning.

“Thus far there’s been very little public opposition to this project,” Barkdoll noted. “After the public meeting on May 20 this will likely move forward. It looks like they would be projected to open some time next year with construction starting later this year.”

Jansen pointed out, “I can think of some objections as a mother of a student at Shippensburg University because such endeavors also bring their share of crime to the area. I have a daughter that’s going to be living in an apartment out in that area. I actually do have some concerns about that. I’m sure there are some who would have concerns about that.”

Being a university town, Shippensburg doesn’t get a lot of revenue.

Indeed, 65% of the real estate is tax exempt because it’s owned by the University.

“I do think on May 20 you’ll see some concerns raised,” Barkdoll predicted. “I would not be surprised if you see some concessions or deals made to try to address those concerns.”

Maybe the casino would bring in its own 24-7 police or security staff so that it doesn’t create a burden on state and local police.

We will see what May 20 brings, but it’s likely that gambling will come to Shippensburg.