Charge ahead at Gettysburg

September 26, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the Philadelphia Inquirer, which was published Tuesday.

IN THE rolling hills around Gettysburg, there's once again talk of wholesale casualties -- this time, if the National Park Service charges ahead with its creative plan for a makeover of the battlefield's visitor center.

No bloodshed, of course. The feared victims are the merchants who serve the tourist trade around the hallowed territory of Pickett's Charge.

Because the Park Service would build its new visitor center and museum about a half-mile from the present site atop Cemetery Hill, merchants nearby worry that their livelihoods would retreat along with the footsteps of Gettysburg's 1.7 million annual visitors.

The Gettysburg Borough Council has lined up against the plan. And a Western Pennsylvania congressman with Senate ambitions -- Democratic Rep. Ron Klink -- succeeded in getting U.S. House approval of a measure that would halt the project for a year.

Commercial interests, who've had ample say already, should not delay or alter any further a plan that makes sense financially and serves history, too.

Returning to the drawing board is unwarranted -- a view shared by the Senate, where Pennsylvania GOP Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter have taken aim at the Klink amendment, vowing to remove it during budget negotiations. May their aim be true.

Pub Date: 9/26/99

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