To the Editor,
“There are 3 kinds of people in the world – those who love math and those who don’t.”
That funny tee shirt exemplifies this debate concerning the Barter Theater decision for Mount Airy. There are two kinds of people – those who want the Barter and those who don’t. But it really is a bit more complicated.
There are those who are opposed to any public incentives and nothing can convince them – even if they go to downtown Winston-Salem and see the vibrant research, medical school and restaurant scene. That’s how AL and SC got all the car manufacturers!
There are those who say they want the Barter, but no property tax increase. Alternative funding formulas have been developed for that scenarion (by the way, has the county or state been approached?).
There are those who care about the Surry Arts Council, donate to it (like me) and attend the programming, who also support the Barter proposal. We see no competition for the entertainment dollars, but a win/win situation for all entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants, other businesses in our town. (By the way,, Abingdon, Virginia has had three property tax reductions and the current rate is 28 cents).
There are also many friends who are upset about past financial support for nonprofits and are concerned about competition and confusion (for funding) for Surry Arts Council and Barter. I think it is apples and oranges – both great fruit, but different.
The Barter Theater decision now seems to be the anchor tenant for the Spencer project. Our city leaders are far down the road with this decision and it can radically change the Spencer property and take Mount Airy to the next level with professional theater.
So when it comes to the Barter Theater proposal unlike math, there really are at least four different groups of people, friends and neighbors. But ultimately, there are only two groups in this discussion – those that are for it and those against it. I for one strongly support our town coming together and making the right decísion. It’s a clean green industry that brings jobs and joy. Be on the right side of history going forward for our great community. Bring the Barter!