SITE TOU
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, left, peers over a portion of the former Gettysburg Country Club, as he listens to an explanation of the site from Gettysburg National Military Park Supervisory Historian Scott Hartwig, right. The Conservation Fund paid $1.4 million for the 95-acre site in Cumberland Township. (Darryl Wheeler/Gettysburg Times)

The historic Gettysburg Country Club finally belongs to the National Park Service and  the site has been renamed.

In a ceremony Friday morning attended by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Park Service announced that 95 acres of the Chambersburg Road property is now safe from private development.

(41) comments

ROCK 32

Just another example of OUTSIDERS telling us what is best for our Townships and County! How about these groups start putting money into these areas to suppliment the tax revenue lost for all the land they have stolen from the taxpayers of Adams County and Townships effected. Its not hard to make it look like what it did here in 1863 you just don't take care of it and let the weeds over take it and look like an eyesore!

Big Rick

Cumberland Township wasnt invited? Everything is about to "hit the fan," so to speak!

SeanMichael

So the "Star" of Gettysburg showed up for the "ceremony". Was she invited since she's such an important person (in her own mind) in the community or did she crash the function hoping to get her mug in the newspaper? The "ceremony" showed a blatant lack of respect for Cumberland Township supervisors. Personally, I'd have preferred seeing as many homes per acre as permitted by local zoning built on the property.

artillery

well...well...well Isn't it nice that a non-local preseservationist group took another tax profiting parcel for Cumberland Township and the Gettysburg Area School District off the tax rolls. I just love all these non local 'Friends of Gettysburg' who do not have to pay the local taxes. I wonder if that 1.4 million could be shared by Cumberland Twp. and the GASD.
Wonder if the NPS (National Park Service) will place a monument on every green and charge a fee for the golf cart ride through this historic ground.
I am sure President Eisenhower is just so pleased.

Civil War Buff

Artillery,
Ike didn't move to Gettysburg for the Golf Country Club. He moved here because he had personal ties as well as a very deep appreciation of the battlefield. He became a local preservationist himself as a result. Think of the bigger picture here, friend. I think visitors to the park 100 years for now will be much happier with this result than the one you desire.

artillery

I didn't say he moved and retired to Gettysburg for the GCC. Perhaps it was because he held a command at Camp Colt.
I never saw the proof that he had a deep appreciation of the battlefield and a local preservationist. If Ike were a local preservationist he wouldn't allow the NPS to suck up the land and take it off the tax rolls.
...and Mamie had an inner ear problem.

maggierose789

Maybe it is time for Cumberland Twp. to eliminate 2 supervisor positions. That will definitely save a lot of money and while they are at it-let the State Police take over that jurisdiction. After all the taxpayers of Cumberland are already paying for State Police but cannot use their services because of their own police department.

Lets see-if all 5 supervisors are getting full medical and dental coverage the cost of that alone should be in the area of about $70,000 for each for their elected term. Multiply that by 5 and guess what- it could be as much as $350,000. Of course, those figures will go up every year because of the increases that must be paid. In 4-5 years it should be around $90,000 per person. Do you think you are getting your money's worth? And then factor in the same or similar cost for each policeman and office employee. They are not elected so the cost just goes on and on. It could vary a few dollars here or there but there you have it. Guess what the answer is to correct the money problem.

Quit whining about the costs and fix the problem. Glad I do not live in Cumberland.


mrs roberts

The folks in and around gettysburg should be thankful for the huge tourism economy that keeps it thriving. Come live in my town and know what it means to be a ghost town. Cant leave because we cant sell our houses. Would love to live in gettysburg area. Just cant afford it! lol

Be grateful you have a booming town!

adalton15

Honoring our ancestors should be valued more than the taxes we pay, this was a wonderful opportunity, and the NPS took it, who wants to see another Development? weeds are better than houses.

SeanMichael

So been here awhile slithered over here from Topix to sully this site. Who was whining about the costs in Cumberland Township? The comments referred to all of the community; not just one township.
I live in Cumberland Township, I'm pleased with our supervisors and our police force. I am sick of people like been here awhile and his/her cronies telling us how to live.
In this particular case - as opposed as I am to more development - I would have loved to have seen a housing development on that land. I'm sick of trhe NPS and their supporters who have to travel to the community they are slowly minimizing by buying land to revere the dead.

Fire Marshal Bill

Mrs Roberts have no fear. With all of the homes up for sale here because of the people who are tired of living in this hustle bustle environment wanting to leave, or is it because they can’t find work and keep up with their taxes, I’m not sure, there will probably be a nice home for sale here when you can get rid of yours.

The huge tourism economy you talk about does help the community and nobody will say it doesn’t, but we need more than tourism. I am sure you visit Gettysburg in the summer and see the streets filled with tourist, but stop by sometime in December to April, and you will see a different picture.

Although the tourist are appreciated, a six to nine month tourism industry does not sustain the town and surrounding areas. We do need more, and taking more land from the tax rolls doesn’t help us any.

Chris in Indy

..and the local whining continues. I love how a select group of you whine about "potentially" losing land off the tax rolls, in part, perhaps, because of "outsiders", yet when it's the outsiders who are the ones who travel to your town, stay in your motels, and spend lots of money so they can "revere" the dead, you don't have a problem then.

So go ahead, pave over your unique history and become just like every other small town in America. Sheesh.

BTW, the military park in your town is a NATIONAL park and is therefore "owned" by all of us. So I think "outsiders" have some say whether you like it or not.

TAX123

Way to go more land that will not be on the tax rolls. I am so glad I do not live in Gettysburg.

adalton15

Chris, I completely agree, this town has a unique history, It's a shame that some people can't appreciate that. The NPS is not telling us what to do with the community, they are simply doing the job laid out for them by the Veterans of the Civil war who saw how important it is to preserve our history. Hopefully you folks can see that too.

anonymous

safe from private development BUT an "eyesore" for the residents that live along that road. Because we all know how well the NPS keeps the grounds looking LIKE 1863, yep full of weeds right up against those people's properties. Hey I know, I used to live on the Taneytown Rd and our property was right up along side of park ground, full of weeds taller than our hedge, a host for snakes...........hope everyone will be happy out there because now even if you wanted to sell your house, it probably won't bring much. At least golf courses keep private developments out and keep the grounds looking great. hello more tax increase for people in Cumberland Twp.yipppppppppppeeeeee.

artillery

...and so Chris in Indy...make us a federal district (atleast the School District) and you can pay our taxes because you want to hug monuments.
How do I garner the benefits from people cominig to this battlefield and then leave for Hershey, DC, Phila., or wherever after a 3 hour stop?

Fire Marshal Bill

Chris, the tourist are and probably always will be welcome in our area. But please tell me how you would accept a few people visiting your town a few times a year and then beginning to dictate what you can do, or how you can do it.

Then a bit later they start to purchase the land and put it into some system that doesn’t pay taxes. Soon they own almost 50% of the property in your town and they don’t pay taxes on any of it.

That will leave you and your neighbors, who are becoming fewer and fewer because of this land being purchased and place is a tax free account to continue to pay the taxes. Remember please when a piece of property comes off the tax rolls the taxes don’t go down, the total us just divided among fewer people.

Scot Pitzer

Sean Michael, Big Rick and others, we will have more in Tuesday's edition of the Gettysburg Times. We received a response from the Park Service today, when asked if Cumberland Township was invited to Friday's event.

Heywood

Fire Marshall Bill, you hit the nail right on the head....I have been saying this for 11 years now and people think I am strange......County needs more good jobs, true this area is special as it pertains to the Civil War and should never loose its place, but the whole county was not a battlefield and should the commissioners want good paying jobs in their district.....But no they just don't care....Been here a while...Well posted as well!!!!!

ROCK 32

"Chris in Indy"

BTW, the military park in your town is a NATIONAL park and is therefore "owned" by all of us. So I think "outsiders" have some say whether you like it or not.

Then you and the rest of the Countries taxpayers will like picking up the taxes for the whole battlefield with the locals not paying. When you pay that and our taxes quit going up then you will have a real say in what goes on here. I'm just using your words "owned" by all so you will pay just like we pay only make it at the most expensive property and house in Adams Co. then we might call it even.

ROCK 32

Another thing I think it is a slap in the face that Gettysburg Borough Officials would even step in to Cumberland Twps. to be apart of something that has nothing to do with their town whats so ever I don't care what the reason was that Cumberland couldn't make it the right thing to do would've been to decline the invite. Stay in the Borough and deal with your own problems.

AmazinGrace

I distinctly recall seeing an article in this paper or some mention of the park donating money to the county in lieu of taxes roughly a year ago, give or take. As for property coming off the tax rolls, the fact that this area gets a lot of visitation does make a contribution in that we have hotels and other services here for those tourists. A hotel, I'm guessing, pays plenty in taxes, probably more than a cluster of houses that probably would not be here if we didn't need those hotels, etc. I could go on and on but you get the idea. If the park were not here, I imagine that we would not be getting the medal of honor convention and things like that as well. It's all relative, people. Without the battlefield, I daresay, this place wouldn't be as large a town, for one thing. Do the math.

SeanMichael

Amazing Grace - the town would exist without the battlefield. It is the county seat. It might have more industry, more stable jobs, more growth than it has had surrounded by and dominated by the park service and tourism. The town would be larger because it would have had room to grow.
People with your mind set seem to believe that having a battle here should make all of the locals bow at the feet of tourists and the park service. We - Gettysburg - would have survived just fine without a battle. We might even have flourished. On the way to work this morning I saw two adjacent businesses with for sale signs in the windows. We cannot survive on tourism!!!
Regarding the note in the newpapers this morning explaining why Cumberland Township Supervisors were ignored and not invited to the ceremony - bull!

ROCK 32

Gracie I disagree. No matter what the park service DONATES to the county one time doesn't make it all better. They know they are taking things away and feels if they give us a bone we will go off in the corner and chew on it for awhile. It isn't working anymore there are more people getting involved that are questioning the loss of revenue. Some of you still don't get it tourist do not make this county run. If I was to bet I would say they bring in 5% of the total county revenue with the largest portion coming from the county taxpayers. I will also disagree about how big this town would be without the battlefield, it was just in the news last week that York Co. is the highest in the state for transplanting from Maryland. With that said and Rt. 15 becoming one of the most used north/south road I know for a fact that this county would be right along side York Co. in population increases.

Chris in Indy

artillery wrote,
"and so Chris in Indy...make us a federal district (atleast the School District) and you can pay our taxes because you want to hug monuments.
How do I garner the benefits from people cominig to this battlefield and then leave for Hershey, DC, Phila., or wherever after a 3 hour stop?"


Statistics have shown that Civil War "buffs", if you will, don't just travel through a place like Gettysburg for 3 hours. A good portion stay at least one night there. If they're there a day or two and a night or two, they're not only spending money on motels, but also on food, gift items, etc.

It would appear that most of you complaining here act as though you're the only township, town, etc. with rising property taxes in this country. We've had our own problems here in Indianapolis. You have some of my sympathy if your situation was really dire. I'm not convinced by any stretch that it is and if things aren't going well, perhaps you need new leadership...maybe some leaders who can maximize your number one industry. Are you not reaping some benefits from also being a college town?

Chris in Indy

Rock 32 wrote,

"Then you and the rest of the Countries taxpayers will like picking up the taxes for the whole battlefield with the locals not paying. When you pay that and our taxes quit going up then you will have a real say in what goes on here. I'm just using your words "owned" by all so you will pay just like we pay only make it at the most expensive property and house in Adams Co. then we might call it even."

I hope you're being facetious. If not, it sounds like you kind of want to live in a "nanny state" and just let everyone else pay for your comfortable living.

I never said that those you call "outsiders" had a vote. Y'all, or at least for as long as you live there, have more pull because you can vote. The thing here is that vote or no vote, those not living there still have a vested interest and will not be silenced when it comes to the battlefield we cherish. Living there and having a vote doesn't give you any right to diminish the voice of others. You will surely disagree with me, but I think the history there is much bigger than any one mortal resident who won't live there forever.

Chris in Indy

SeanMichael wrote,
"Amazing Grace - the town would exist without the battlefield. It is the county seat. It might have more industry, more stable jobs, more growth than it has had surrounded by and dominated by the park service and tourism. The town would be larger because it would have had room to grow.
People with your mind set seem to believe that having a battle here should make all of the locals bow at the feet of tourists and the park service. We - Gettysburg - would have survived just fine without a battle. We might even have flourished. On the way to work this morning I saw two adjacent businesses with for sale signs in the windows. We cannot survive on tourism!!!"

You might as well just come out and say that you hate the battlefield. I don't know that I would ever tell someone to move, but it might be something you should think about if the battlefield is that much of a burden for you. Yeah, it's possible that Gettysburg would survive, if not thrive, if the battlefield had been paved over long ago. Of course you'd be just another 'burg' in a long line of burgs across this great nation. If I lived somewhere like Gettysburg, I'd embrace it's uniqueness rather than lament it.

BTW, present company included, I'll bet my entire savings account that those crying about "outsiders" telling you how to run your town and township don't say didley poo when you happen to agree with them. If you're pro-casino, I seriously doubt that you'd complain about some out of stater harping on the benefits of a casino.

Fire Marshal Bill

Chris in Indy, I can’t speak for Rock32 or anyone else, but I do consider myself an “average Adams Countian”. Most of us do respect and enjoy the battlefield and the GNMP. I am a student of the battle, and enjoy reading about it and walking the battlefield to try and imagine what those men experienced. I do consider myself very fortunate to live where I do, with so much history and so many other things within very easy travel distance. This is as close to “God’s Country” as you will get.

Please tell me just how much of the property in your community doesn’t pay taxes? I’ll bet it is considerably less than the 30% in Cumberland Township and the 45% in the borough of Gettysburg. I would bet you would be very upset if you had to make up the taxes for that 30% to 45% of the untaxed properties in your community wouldn’t you?

Yes we are not the only community with rising taxes but I don’t think that there are very many that not only have rising taxes but also a reducing tax base.

If you study the battle at all, you will know that at the time of the invasion Gettysburg was a thriving little town with quite a few small industries. Should the battle not have been here, there is every possibility that we would have continued to grow. After all we had seven roads verging in this town. North and south roads to Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington; east and west roads to York, Hanover, Waynesboro and Chambersburg; as well as an east/west railroad (still under construction to the west at the time of the battle), all of which would have made Gettysburg an ideal industrial location through the mid 1900s. And if Gettysburg had developed perhaps one of the interstate roads would have been put closer to here.

Yes we are dependent on the tourism right now because that is all we have. Yes the tourist do spend money when they are here, and I would agree with you that most do spend at least one night. But then they are gone. They do keep some businesses open and do provide some jobs, but as was pointed out, we are loosing businesses and mostly tourist related businesses every week.

Tourism is seasonal business you know. Again I would like to see your community exist and how happy you would be if most of the businesses either closed down or cut back on staff for from three to six months a year.

adalton15

The people who live along the country club, including myself, would rather see an open pasture, than hundreds of strangers looking our their identical houses back at us. Most who live on Country Club Lane are seniors, and have enjoyed their property for years. The reality is, the golf course is done, no matter what could have happened. It would either of been another ugly development, or NPS land [patrolled every day and maintained as open space] this also will increase their property value, not lower it. Combined with the historical value, I don't think anyone has the right to tear the NPS to shreads without fully understanding the situation.

AmazinGrace

Please allow me to clarify. I love the battlefield and I love my life here. I have no intention of moving. None. Furthermore, my family pre-dates the Revolution here and I can trace my background to the first colonists. My roots and feeling for this community runs deep.

As I understand it, the park donates a sum every year, it is not a one-time thing. As for the town existing, it may exist but not as it does now. There would not be the hotels, restaurants, an outlet mall, and such that here is now. I daresay it would probably not get a passing glance for a proposed casino. Like it or not, the battle is a big part of what keeps Gettysburg Gettysburg. Deny and diminish it all you want, it won't change history.

A big part of the problem locally is the attitude people have towards tourists, again, like it or not, they have been coming since July 4, 1863. I have had the pleasure of being to military graveyards in Europe, and our dead buried there are revered. People remain grateful to those who gave the last full measure on foreign soil and who remain there in death. I don't have memories of being called an outsider or being treated rudely.

If tourism is a seasonal business, it's not the only business. I have had people in my homes in January and February who come for the lower rates, increased visibility becasue of the leaves being off the trees, and who don't like the crowds of July.

I wonder how the people living near Flanders Field would feel about throwing up condos next to that hallowed ground. Or a casino. Say there is an unknown battleflield discovered outside of Berlin or Paris, complete with buried remains, including Americans. Should we just say, C'est la vie, and be done with it? Maybe we should plow under Arlington and throw up a Six Flags. There were people who died on the land in question where a country club was built and now it's being put back as sacred land and all you people can harp about is taxes. Heaven help us. Those who don't remember the past are condemned to relive it and it appears with all this sniping we are back in our own Civil War.

ROCK 32

adalton15 you had better check the past home sales of those houses that were against the Battlefield. They don't sell as fast or for as much once the people that are buying it find out that if the NPS wants that house and it falls within the boundry that they can be basically thrown out by Eminent Domain.

Chris in Indy

Nope no nanny state what I'm saying is that outsiders will pay for all the park property that is untaxable. I don't know what vote your talking about if it was up to most of the locals the park service wouldn't get anymore land period and you outsiders would take a back seat to everything around here. Yep you can have a real vested interest in this area just pay the taxes.

I'm just glad that you outsiders think this area is so flush with money from the tourist industry. I just hope more people do come this year and from now on to make up for the lost tax revenue when the Park extends out to take the rest of the 6,000 acres they want to buy. Maybe our business in this area is a little behind on prices how about every business in this area jacks its prices everytime a piece of property comes off the roles I mean every business. Then you outsiders would be saying we are all greedy and tring to rip people off when we are just tring to pay the bills. Wake up everytime land comes off the tax roles someone has to pick up the lost revenue hence that means WE DO not you because YOU don't pay taxes here.

Fire Marshal Bill

AmazingGrace, nobody is talking about destroying the existing battlefield. Those 6,000 acres plus will remain probably forever. As to the sum the GNMP “donates” to the local community, I am not sure of the amount, but I will bet it is nothing close to what the taxes would be on that 6,000 plus acres.
You are correct without tourism we would not have all the hotels that we now have, but we would not need them. We very possibly would have some nice businesses employing maybe thousands of people rather than a few hundred. POSSIBLY I said since nobody will know because the battle was fought here.
As to you having visitors in your house through the winter months, yes there are some who visit in the “off season” for a variety of reason, but you have to admit those numbers are nothing close to those who visit during the summer months.
Almost any day from the end of November to the first of April, you will find the Visitor Center parking lot empty, and the hotel and motel parking lots almost vacant. Many of the tourist attractions close down the first of December thru March so they are not open to the few visitors who do come through the area.
And this is not about the casino, so I will not discuss it here.

Chris in Indy

Actually, I do pay taxes in Gettysburg. Every visit there, I pay 9-10% in hotel taxes, 6-7% in food/restaurant taxes, tax on gas, and taxes on whatever trinket, postcard, or gift item I purchase there.

With all the complaints I read here, one wonders how ski resorts manage to survive year after year after year, when they essentially close down at least for as many months as Gettysburg supposedly "closes down" (and actually, even with less visitation, you still have tourists in the non-peak season.)

If none of you are seriously considering moving (although I don't know why you don't if the town is such a burden for you), perhaps your next course of action would be to start a campaign of eliminating townships altogether. What do townships really do for you other than add a layer of gov't and cause a multitude
of problems?

I sincerely hope the best for all of you, but this "outsider" will almost always be on the side of preservation over development...even if I have considered moving to that part of the country.

SeanMichael

Chris in Indy, I don't hate the battlefield but if it disappeared tomorrow it wouldn't break my heart. While you tourists revel in the history locals have to live with the killing fields. My maternal and paternal ancestors have been in this area since the late 1600's and early 1700's. How could they know that someday a battle would be fought here that would draw ghouls from all over the country to visit? And why should I leave a home that has been in my family for generations? I love this area, I love my home. I'm tired of newcomers to the community who want to take my home back 150 years in time. The past is dead; the future is life. I want life for my town. As stores close, as businesses fail, as more and more properties are sold at sheriff's sales our town is dying. When the residents, the hotels, the motels, the tourists attractions are gone will you all still come to visit? Where will you eat? Where will you sleep? What will you do when the park closes and you have to drive to Hanover or Littlestown or elsewhere for food or entertainment? You people don't want to see our point of view because you think we don't want you here. What we don't want is more and more land going to the park and less and less jobs in the community.

adalton15

Chris, you are absolutely right, I have lived in Gettysburg for ten years, and have been waiting for the country club to become NPS land. It is so critical to the history of Gettysburg, and I understand that some think that this is just another NPS aquisition, but it's not. Anyone who has even a small interest in history should appreciate what happened on that land. We're talking about centuries of the town's history that could have been given up to the bulldozers. You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate it, you just have to be a proud citizen. It pains me to listen to people who would rather see another development. I understand the tax arguement, but it really shouldn't be in the same category with preservation, especially here in Gettysburg.

Nile Grazowski

Chris in Indy

Those taxes you refer to. Which ones of those are local taxes and how many are state taxes? What does the local tax base get from those?

Grace - I did an internet search and came up with nothing on the NPS giving money to support the local tax base. Do you have a source?

ROCK 32

adalton15 I feel safe in saying you are a retired transplant that only knows what he or she thinks is the truth because you've never worked here and seen what you make. There are not alot of 401k plan jobs in this area and history does not pay the bills for the working class folks in Adams Co. Lastly you are not going to be able to walk the country club area because the Park is not going to be able to keep up with the weeds and all you'll be able is stand at a far and say "isn't that so grand that the park is now in control of that property" Wow that is really great pay all that money and only look at it.

ROCK 32

Chris in Indy

You have got to be a liberal with the way you think you are totally clueless.

SeanMichael

Your right on target!!!!

adalton15

Rock 32, I understand that the tourist industry does not pay for Adams County, however we are in perhaps the most historic place in the Country, and it is our duty to protect America's history. I don't see how 95 acres can really do much dammage to the average citizen. By the way, the NPS has already made plans for accessibility issues on the Country Club, as I said before, weeds are much better than houses. If the taxes go up 3 cents, I don't see it as an equal issue with preserving the land.

oldschool

So, let me get this right! The Federal Gov't now owes this piece of land. Doesn't that mean that now our Fed Taxes will increase to pay for this land and our local taxes will increase to coverer to loss of local tax collected? Here's another part of the large picture that I just don't understand. Our Federal Gov't still has not balanced the budget put into effect in Oct 2010. We are currently running this country on ghost money, (contingent budget). There is a very good chance that the Gov't will shut down as of April 8th because the leaders of this country can't come to a compromise. There are talks of possibly cutting $60 billion and if the Tea Party gets it's way $100 billion. Where I work that means roughly 20% reduction in employment and supplies now and more when they figure out the next budget due in Oct 2011. I then ask, how do we as a country have the $ to buy more land when we are cutting funding for Departments such as NIH and NCI. I guess It's better to preserve the dead than save the living!

pro preservation

Hey "oldschool" Did you read the article? Neither the NPS or any part of the Federal Government, paid for this land. It was purchased by the Conservation Fund, with assistance from several other non-profit groups, such as Civil War Trust. The Conservation Fund then donated the land to the NPS. Your argument makes no sense.

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