News

Residents speak out against casino in Hellam Township

Written by Teresa Boeckel/The York Daily Record | Jun 8, 2018 10:05 AM
No casino sign Hellam Township.jpg

Some residents of Hellam Township, York County, have "no casino" signs like this one. (Photo: Submitted)

Joshua Kolkow doesn't want to see a mini-casino built in his backyard in Hellam Township.

He grew up in a casino town in Arizona, and he said he knows what one can bring - more traffic, more people driving under the influence and gamblers wandering through the neighborhood after they spent their money.

"... It's going to bring my property value down," Kolkow told township supervisors at their board meeting Thursday night. "... I'm really hoping to bring my property value up."

Kolkow was one of numerous residents who spoke out against the casino. Some wore T-shirts with a "no" symbol over the word casino, and Laurie Lehman presented supervisors a petition with signatures of residents against it. 

Penn National Gaming Inc. is eyeing a site off the Wrightsville exit of Route 30. The township initially had opted out of allowing a casino to come into the municipality, but the board reversed its decision at a meeting last month.

Some have seen it as a way to possibly save the Mifflin House, a stone farmhouse that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, from being demolished. Penn National has said it would consider preserving the historic house.

Riki Potosky, a resident and former supervisor, spoke Thursday night in favor of a mini-casino. She says it would help to bring money into the municipality and pay for public services, such as the fire departments. 

"That's something that's important to us all," she said.

Others, however, say they don't think a casino will help.

"This isn't going to change my taxes," Kenneth Hertzler said.

He also called the decision not to opt-out of a casino "a big deal" and said he wishes that residents would have been notified about it.

Residents also asked township officials questions, such as the hours alcohol could be served at the casino and whether the community might need more police officers.

Board president Galen Weibley said that, at this point, the township cannot prohibit the business from coming in. If residents don't want the mini-casino, they can contact Penn National to share their opinion.

Weibley said he made his decision based on the fact that neighboring Springettsbury Township opted back in for a possible casino and Wrightsville never had opted out. So regardless, it was going to come into the community.

"I made what I believe is the best decision," he said. 

Penn National is expected to narrow the field of candidates and select one site. The deadline to submit to the state is in July.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record. 

Published in News, York

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