Could a new shopping center ruin a historic Gettysburg battlefield site?

A project in the conceptual phase now would, if implemented, develop approximately 100 acres of land encompassing much of Camp Letterman, the site of the hospital area established by Army of the Potomac Medical Director Jonathan Letterman, and extending toward and next to the Daniel Lady Farm, used as a confederate field hospital, in Gettysburg. The plans call for a shopping center on that land, along with extending Letterman Lane to accommodate the new stores. The shopping center would be anchored presumably by a big box store. The land is a commercially zoned property and is owned by Mark Gettysburg Associates, LP, which is represented by Miller and Associates Real Estate, LLC. See the news story here. Barb Mowery of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association called the proposal the “greatest threat to hallowed ground in years.” Didn’t the GBPA support the move to put a casino next to the Gettysburg National Military Park? The GBPA owns the Daniel Lady Farm and “has spent 17 years and $2.5 million restoring the property.” The article tells us, “A number of details — like the size of the project, layout of the commercial properties or list of interested stores — have not been finalized.”

Marty Miller of Miller and Associates Real Estate, LLC, “refutes claims that the property contains historically important artifacts. A Virginia-based company was interested in developing the land about eight years ago. At the time, he said, the company performed a radar scan of the land and found no historically significant items. Miller said there is also a dispute as to where Camp Letterman field hospital was located in the area. The 100-acre property is located outside of the Gettysburg National Military Park. But, a portion of the property is contained in the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District. The federal government requires properties located in the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District to be consistent with the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.”

The National Park Service folks at the Gettysburg National Military Park are aware of the proposal and have been watching it. “The park sees a potential for two concerns — possible visual impacts of tall, large builds along the park and the connection of Camp Letterman Drive with the historic Hanover Road.” According to spokesperson Katie Lawhon, “There are ways that we’ve been able to in the past to mitigate the impacts of projects. That’s just part of the give-and-take of a project.”

Of course, those who want to stop the project can do so if they want. “Miller emphasized that the project is still in the conceptual phases. If the association is concerned with developing commercial properties near the park, they can purchase the land for $8 million. ‘All they have to do is pay us and we’ll walk away,’ Miller said. ‘They can just write us a check and do what they want with it.’ “

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2 comments

  1. bob carey · · Reply

    Al,
    Gettysburg has enough shopping centers and outlets. I think that Millers thought comes close to extortion, pay me and I’ll forget all about it. People like Miller have to remember that if it wasn’t for the historical significance there would be no reason for tourist to go there, unless you really like apples.

    1. Without the battle, Sherfy Peaches would still be a big operation. 🙂 The extortion angle went through my mind as well.

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