Developers of a new project that includes a harness racetrack and casino facility in Pennsylvania have revealed plans of what the project will entail, including a new hotel and dining venues.
Back in January, David LeVan, a local entrepreneur made the announcement that he was applying for casino licensing in Pennsylvania that was reserved for harness racing tracks. This was the only available license and LeVan had plans to create a casino and track, which would be known as Mason-Dixon Downs. The venue would be located off Route 15 on a piece of land located in the Freedom Township.
By February, representatives of the project asked the officials of the Freedom Township to begin considering a change to the zoning ordinance. LeVan had a purchase agreement for 700 acres of land, with some of the land being considered as mixed-use which means that it would not specifically be allowed for harness racing or a casino.
Last Wednesday, the representatives of Mason-Dixon Downs along with LeVan presented their plans for the project, to the members of the planning commission as well as the public. The presentation included proposed amendments the group hope to see changed in regards to the zoning issue. According to a report by The Evening Sun, the amendments would see changes such as the minimum required lot area to be 500 acres, the main buildings (including the racetrack) be at least 500 feet from public roads that exist during the time frame of the application and that 60% of the land for the project will remain as open space.
The amendments also included the fact that a hotel and restaurants must be included in the design of the site and not in a remote location away from the racing/gaming venue. Parking, wastewater systems, water, building height and several other aspects were also covered during the presentation to give the public and commission insight into the full plans of the company.
The addition of a hotel, conference center and restaurants to the plans were made due to a recent market study solicited by LeVan. According to study, it was suggested that adding a 200 guest room hotel, a conference center and restaurants would result in an enhancement of revenues.
This is not the first time that LeVan has tried to bring a casino to the area. In 2005 and 2006, he worked on a plan that failed along with an attempt in 2010 when he saw contention against plans to create a venue that proponents felt would encroach on the Gettysburg National Military Park.
As far as this recent project is concerned, over 100 individuals were at the meeting last week to show support as well as protest the plans. The members of the planning commission voted to table the discussion and review the plans further.