It hurts my heart to think that my beloved Poconos are going become a mini Atlantic City with a few thousand slot machines...and heaven knows what else will slither in with them. Honestly, is that really what the Poconos is all about? What happened to cabins on a lake, getting "lost" in nature...getting away from all the crap?
Now, the crap is encroaching and it appears that very few people care.
The Pocono Record reported in July that the Middle Smithfield Township Board of Supervisors decided to send a letter of support to the state Gaming Commission on behalf of Fernwood Resort, which wants to install 500 slot machines. What caught my eye was the well written first paragraph, stating that the supervisors planned to send a letter of support "though nearly everyone attending Thursday's supervisors meeting opposed it."
I had to read more, thinking...wow, the township residents better vote these guys out of their positions next election...when I noticed that there were only twelve residents in attendance, and nine were opposed.
TWELVE? There were only TWELVE RESIDENTS in attendance for such an important meeting? I'm assuming that the rest of the township is either eagerly supporting the coming of gaming to the Poconos...but I'm betting that the majority either were ignorant of the goings-on, or just don't care.
Perhaps they are resigned to the inevitable. Mount Airy Resort has their army of over 2000 slot machines installed and though I guess there is still some "investigation" going on. Let's not even talk about the supposed mob ties of resort owner Louis DeNaples...for Pete's sake...didn't the Mafia build Las Vegas? Who did we think was going to build the casinos in the Poconos? The Boy Scouts?
A line in the article made me almost cry: "This is not your father's Poconos anymore."
I'm hoping that the community around Lake Wallenpaupack will band together and work hard to keep DeNaples and his ilk from bringing this dirty business here. And hopefully, more than twelve people will show up at public supervisor meetings should the issue ever arise.
Over the summer I was contacted by some folks who wanted to sell their half-acre lots in Fawn Lake Forest. They purchased the land sometime in the late 1970's or early 1980's for nearly $30,000 after being told that "Casinos were coming! The land is going to be worth a fortune!" Now, they wanted to sell them - for over 20 years the owners have been paying hundreds of dollars a year in taxes and association dues, in hopes that the investment would pay off. At the time I spoke to these potential sellers, similar lots were selling for $7000 - $9000 each. I felt so bad for them...I could feel their disappointment. Another person call who owns real estate in Paupackan Lake Estates askd me if I thought the "gambling coming to the Poconos" would increase the property value of their little lot in PLE. Doubtful, since the "gambling" right now is not in the immediate area - the only gambling around here, thank heavens, is the bingo games and the PA Lottery.
Of course, as Fawn Lake Forest in Pike County and Paupackan Lake Estates in Wayne County grow in popularity, and the lots become scarce as new homes are built, the value of the real estate will increase. I don't think these people, who were counting on a new Atlantic City to double their investment (or whatever the smooth talking sheister told them) will ever see their money back.
Gambling on gambling. The irony.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Paupack Group Independently Owned and Operated
Karen E. Rice is a real estate agent working in Pike & Wayne County of Northeastern PA in the Pocono Mountains. Lake Wallenpaupack is one of Pennsylvania's most popular destinations for vacations, retirement, and purchasing a home.