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.

Polish Pottery Bingo 2018 Kicks off $11 million Campaign

Save the date!  February 10th for a fun “Polish Pottery Bingo” fundraiser at the Gettysburg Fire Hall. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with Bingo games starting at 7:00 p.m.  Free parking, BYOB, and delicious food.  Tickets are $15 and “pre-purchase” is preferred.  Contact Main Street Gettysburg at 717-337-3491 or or purchase them directly at the Gettysburg Polish Pottery store, 102 Baltimore Street.  This will be the first of many fundraising initiatives and grants to raise $11 million toward a whole new look for Baltimore Street.

Raising $11 million dollars usually raises some eyebrows because it sounds impossible but the Baltimore Street District businesses, community and Main Street Gettysburg are up for the task.  Just look at the successful $7.5 million revitalization project completed on Steinwehr Avenue.    It is possible.

In 2016, Main Street Gettysburg gathered a small group of Baltimore Street businesses and residents to spearhead an economic revitalization initiative.  The purpose was to improve the economy, create jobs, and enhance the quality of life within the Baltimore Street District.  From a broader community perspective, the objective was to build upon the success of the Steinwehr Revitalization Project and improve Baltimore Street so it would connect the Lincoln Square and Steinwehr Avenue commercial areas of Gettysburg in a way that would attract more residents, businesses and patrons/visitors to downtown.

Once the Baltimore Street community started working together, they agreed that the specific objectives of the economic plan should capture and showcase the history, stories, beauty, culture, arts and authenticity specific to the Baltimore Street District.  They want to creatively blend the nationally recognized history of this street, with the 21st century amenities.  Additional objectives are to balance and incorporate the “green” approach with technology, more restaurants, artistic creativity and historic authenticity.

More than $60,000 has already been raised to pay for some new lighting on one block, and the services of C.S. Davidson to oversee and create a comprehensive Master Plan by year-end 2017.   With the Baltimore Street Community’s commitment, this goal was achieved.  The planning process involved more than 80 community residents, businesses and stakeholders who wanted to make Baltimore Street more pedestrian friendly, safer and attractive for the community to enjoy, as well as visitors.

MSG works with Steinwehr Avenue as this area of town continues to attract more businesses and investments daily.   Using Steinwehr as a model, Main Street Gettysburg will be applying the many lessons learned as they embark on grant funding for the $11 million project goal.  The task of seeking this level of funding is complicated and involves many hours of research, relationship building, schedule and contract coordination, and just plain luck!  Once approved by the Borough Council, MSG will be focused on finding these grant opportunities in 2018 with the newly documented Master Plan necessary for any grant.

So please help us take the first steps to achieve our goal.  Invite a group of friends and family to a fun night out and buy some  bingo tickets for the Saturday night, February 10th event.  Another way that you can help is to become a sponsor of the event.  Contact Annie Letendre for more information.