It's More than Bingo

On February 10, more than 225 people in the Gettysburg Fire Hall intensely monitored their bingo cards in anticipation of shouting “bingo.”  The Polish Pottery Bingo event, a fundraiser for the Baltimore Street Economic Revitalization Project was underway.  But this was more than just a bingo fundraiser.  This was an illustration of how working together as a united community can work toward bettering the community in enormous ways.  The fundraiser brought together Borough decision-makers, Borough staff, event volunteers and community to work toward a common goal, seeing that the Baltimore Street Economic Development (BSED)Master Plan becomes a reality.

This was only the second time that the Baltimore Street Economic Revitalization Executive and Event Committee (BSEREC) had held the event, and they were pleasantly surprised when it sold out a week prior to the date.  The energy in the room was positive and exciting.  Groups of community folks grabbed tables together to enjoy the evening.  Charles Gable, Borough Manager was the official emcee and there was a rotation of “number callers” among the Gettysburg Borough Council attending.  Susan Naugle, Council President, Chris Berger, new Councilman, Wes Heyser, Councilman and Mayor Ted Streeter all participated.  Becky LaBarre, Planning Director and Charles Gable were very familiar with the revitalization project, as they participated on the project team.  There were also a full table of borough staff who had purchased bingo tickets to join in on the fun and to support the cause. 

There were beautiful Polish Pottery prizes, as well as door prizes from many business sponsors supporting the project and event.  At one time there were 8 winners at the same time for one game.  You talk about working together toward a congenial resolution!  But Annie Letendre, MSG’s coordinator for the Event Committee had that all worked out. 

The BSEREC consisting of Wendy Allen, Tim Woodward, Nancie Gudmestad, Jesse Coulter, Lynn Chronister, Sarah Kipp and Nancy Kramer have become the heart and soul of the Baltimore Street project.  MSG was seeking to create a community rooted group who would commit to a multi-year project to improve Baltimore Street.  It is this group that took on the task and has coordinated two bingo fundraisers, “Steppin’ Out in Lincoln’s Footsteps” events, provided presentations to many groups, and also created the visuals such as the artistic rendering and endearing Baltimore Street logo of Lincoln, both by Wendy Allen.  The BSEREC has also engaged groups like HABPI, South Mountain Partnership and Adams County Community Foundation.  

In 2017, the BSEREC was the core group that ensured that a BSED Master Plan, valued at $50,000, was completed.  This plan outlines $11-million-dollars of borough enhancements that will  improve the safety and lighting on the streets, update the infrastructure, and redesign the sidewalks with amenities to make Baltimore Street more pedestrian-friendly.   By working with MSG as the official non-profit, more than $60,000 has been raised to date.

On February 12, appropriately the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday, the Borough Council unanimously voted to support the  Baltimore Street Master Plan.  There is no question that the unity and commitment of the BSEREC, the Borough Council and Staff, and MSG will make this community dream project a reality!  The February 10 bingo event was more than a social event; it was a community illustrating their power to get things done together.