Although I firmly believe that the Gettysburg National Military Park is in desperate need of a new visitors center, the process through which the NPS arrived at the current arrangement is a case study in how to abuse the public’s trust. The NPS determined the new visitors center’s location and the manner in which it would be constructed and managed with almost no substantive involvement from those whom the decision will impact the most – the citizens of Gettysburg. To direct the 1.5 million visitors who come to Gettysburg each year to a new site, far from the existing businesses of the downtown area and Steinwehr Avenue corridor, and which will include new vending services provided by a non-local business, is irresponsible.
I applauded Congressman Klink’s efforts last year to require that any funding for a new visitors center be first approved by the entire Congress. It disturbed me greatly that the people of Adams County were forced to look outside the 19th Congressional District for someone to represent their interests in Washington.
When I am elected, I will ensure that the NPS works with Gettysburg as a partner, including the borough and its leaders in the park’s plans. I will also work with members of the Appropriations Committee to make certain that no funds are released for a new visitors center until a plan is in place that represents everyone’s interests, especially those locally-owned business that already rely on the flow of visitors from the current site.