Deal to expand Barter Theatre in Mount Airy, NC denied

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MOUNT AIRY, NC (WJHL) – A deal to expand the region’s most well-known theater into another state appears to have hit a big stumbling block.

Late Monday afternoon, Barter Theatre announced that its plan to expand to Mount Airy, North Carolina cannot move forward as planned.

As we reported last week, the City of Mount Airy invited Barter Theatre to stage productions in a new theater being built as part of a massive downtown project.

According to Barter Theatre artistic director Richard Rose, “The City of Mount Airy just informed us minutes ago that the North Carolina Local Government Commission, who is under the supervision of the Treasury Department of North Carolina and has to approve all borrowing and financing by local governments in NC, has not approved this project in Mount Airy.”

Rose said that means the City of Mount Airy can’t legally enter into a contract with Barter Theatre.

“Thus, at the moment we at not able to move forward with the project,” Rose said.   “The future of the project is in question and beyond the ability of Barter Theatre to influence the outcome. To say the least, Barter’s Board and staff is greatly disappointed by this unfortunate turn of events.”

A public comment meeting set for tomorrow has been canceled.

Some businesses in Abingdon have expressed concern about the project’s impact on the city’s tourism.

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