Reader: Barter key to economic life

To The Editor

I am for the Barter Theatre and here’s why……because I am a fiscal conservative and a capitalist! We can discuss all the actual particulars about the final negotiated agreement between the town and the Barter which we don’t have yet but which are in the process. Ultimately though with the Barter will come the hotel and the apartments, without the Barter it is very unlikely that the hotel will come.

When all three entities are built, we will then have a project worth approximately $40,000,000 which will drive an enormous amount of additional economic growth in our entire area for an investment on our part of approximately $8,000,000! What investor worth his salt would not buy a dollar’s worth of value for 20 cents!?

Agree or disagree with the town’s decision to purchase the Spencer property, that ship has already sailed and it is incumbent upon the town to try to maximize that asset to the greatest benefit possible for all. It is unfortunate that the redevelopment commission was disbanded or we would probably have had a lot more time to be deliberative about this process and decision. But, again, this is where we find ourselves needing to make a decision quickly before the tax credits, that make this project feasible, begin to expire.

We are fortunate however to have a solid proposal from our own good corporate citizen, Surrey Bank, which will help make this project affordable without much or any tax increase. Abington has not had a tax increase in 25 years because of the positive impact the Barter has had on that town. When considering other options that we still have to tap in to to make this a reality such as the county’s participation, a food and beverage tax, property taxes from the hotel and apartments, increased tourism which will lift many of the shops, restaurants, existing arts and music venues, the museums, etc. to new levels, I see this as a win all around with plenty of revenue to give deserving firefighter’s and others the raises they need.

There are people/entities in town who are fearful of the perceived competition from the Barter. I totally disagree. The Barter is a professional arts business with an 85-year track record of success! They will bring a whole new group of people to town from construction workers, to actors, to service personnel, to patrons of the arts to enjoy their performances, etc. I believe they will bring an energy, a vibrancy and a synergy which will be contagious. I, in no way, believe that the Barter wants to come here to negatively impact our area or hurt any people/entities.

Because I am a capitalist, I believe in competition. As a lifelong athlete and business person I have always found that competition either brings out the best in strong people and businesses or clears out the dead wood. I believe we are a strong community with many gifts and talents worth supporting but I do not see our Mayberry persona lasting forever and I believe we need to have additional drivers of people, culture and businesses for all of us to have a brighter future. Change is difficult for most people but it is an inevitable part of life.

Stagnation is the pathway to death. Let’s choose life!

Bill DiPretoro

Mount Airy