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Transient businesses expected to descend on Gettysburg for 150th

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A monument honoring the 14th New York State Militia is one of the approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials at Gettysburg National Military Park. 2011 marked the 15Oth anniversary of the beginning of Civil War, which will be commemorated through 2015. File photo
A monument honoring the 14th New York State Militia is one of the approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials at Gettysburg National Military Park. 2011 marked the 15Oth anniversary of the beginning of Civil War, which will be commemorated through 2015. File photo

With projected visitation to Gettysburg expected to be about 4 million this year — 1 million more than a typical year — economic activity in Adams County is slated to grow to the tune of $750 million.

Just as local business owners have opened up shop or made improvements to their establishments, outside vendors also are expected to pick up in numbers as the borough and surrounding municipalities mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

"We do anticipate we would see a few temporary businesses crop up during the busy summer months," said Carl Whitehill, a spokesman for the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We've seen a lot of businesses open their doors in the last few months, specifically restaurants."

The peak period from June 28 to July 7 alone is expected to draw 200,000 people to the Gettysburg area, according to the bureau. The year is full of special events and re-enactments.

"Everybody is wanting to come in," said Edith Smith, administrative supervisor at the borough police department, which is tasked with issuing transient retail business permits.

The department issued 54 such permits in 2011 and 61 last year, Smith said. She said she is expecting that number will grow in 2013.

Borough police had issued about 10 permits through the first four months. It likely will ramp up from there, Smith said.

"(Businesses) want to be where the people are," Whitehill said. "I expect to see (temporary businesses) beyond these 10 days."

Gettysburg charges $25 per day for the transient permit. The cost is $100 per month and $300 per year, Smith said.

Stationary vendors need to provide a permission letter from the property owners where they plan to sell, she said. A borough ordinance restricts sales hours at a public location to no earlier than 9 a.m. and no later than 8 p.m.

The typical requests come from hot dog and other lunch truck vendors, Smith said. And a lot of them are for special events such as parades.

Failure to abide by the borough ordinance carries potential penalties of up to $600 plus processing costs, according to the ordinance. Default of payment could result in prison time.

"We hope any business would go through the proper channels and provide all visitors with a quality product and service," Whitehill said.

The bureau is anticipating the bulk of the transient business will be connected to special events this year and include mostly food vendors — hot dog carts and coffee wagons, he said.

"We can't say there will be an influx," said Tina McNaughton, township secretary in neighboring Straban Township. "Whether or not we will in June and July, (we'll see)."

Re-enactments and other annual events in the area usually draw temporary businesses, she said.

"I can't say we're seeing anything different (so far)," she said. "It could simply be location."

The township issues vendor permits for peddling and soliciting, McNaughton said. The $25 permit is for stationary sites, which requires landowner permission.

Gettysburg's historic year could mean more than $1 billion for this region, according to the bureau.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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