Southwest Wake: Opinion

June 6, 2014

Allen Turkow: A big-screen budget loss

The Cary theater is projected to run at a $525,757 deficit this coming fiscal year. Why are we even in the theater business?

A big-screen budget loss

Here are a few interesting items in Cary’s proposed 2015 budget:

• Cary Arts Center: $670,540 revenue; $1,887,808 expenditure; $1,217,268 loss
• Soccer park: $617,428 revenue; $1,536,312 expenditure; $918,884 loss
• The Cary theater: $177,080 revenue; $702,837 expenditure; $525,757 loss

The most troubling to me is The Cary theater. It is not a public/private investment as it has been referred to by some of our town representatives. It is all taxpayer money at a $6 million-plus price tag.

Now it is projected to run at a $525,757 deficit this coming fiscal year. Why are we even in the theater business? At this point I only see two options: Continue running each year at a $500,000 deficit or sell the theater and get out of the business.

However, option No. 2 is highly unlikely. Who in their right mind would purchase a one-screen theater for $6 million? The town would have to sell it at a significant loss.

Better yet, contact Ed Gawf, Cary’s former downtown manager, to see if he would be interested in purchasing the theater. It was his great idea in his master plan for downtown Cary development.

Allen Turkow

Cary

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