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County Commission Dct. 4: Should county contribute to the Flat Rock Playhouse?

District 4 candidate Tim Griffin says his opposition to funding for the Playhouse was a "catalyst" for his run for the Board of Commissioners. District 4 candidate Tim Griffin says his opposition to funding for the Playhouse was a "catalyst" for his run for the Board of Commissioners.

Asked of District 4 candidates Tommy Thompson and Tim Griffin: Should the Henderson County Board of Commissioners support the Flat Rock Playhouse?

 

 

Thompson: "That is a matter that has caused a lot of discussion within the community. the Flat Rock Playhouse is in fact an economic driver in this community. A lot of people do not believe that but it brings in absolutely millions and millions of dollars per year. When they ran into their difficulties financially some time back (in 2012) the community as a whole was basically split. Many recognized the economic impact, others recognized the arts and the plays that were being put on actually brought in a lot of tourism. Others on the other hand did not. They were not willing to do anything to assist it (saying), 'Much like a small business, if you can't run it, let it die.' It was in fact part of our community, however. We did put a lot of time and effort and conversation into it. We did in fact give them some money. Hopefully they're in a better situation than what they have been. As far as the economic impact, I think it's such that you have to consider helping them out, probably not on the basis of ad valorem taxes but in some other ways, through some tourism venture, to keep the Flat Rock Playhouse alive, because of the tourism effect, the dollars that come in."

Griffin: "This was actually one of the catalysts that got me into this race. I love that place, I have very fond memories of it. The YouTheatre I think is unmatched but I think once you start giving money to a for-profit agency in the county and the next for-profit agency comes up and asks for a bailout or assistance. Where are you going to draw that line. I know how much the Flat Rock Playhouse means to this community. But I think a lot of this responsibility falls on the Flat Rock Playhouse just like it would a small business. If any of you owned a small business and you were having a problem even though you brought money into the county, would you come to the commissioners and ask for help? I doubt you would very seriously. I think it falls back on them to find ways to make their money and not spend the taxpayers' money on one business."

[Editor's note: The Flat Rock Playhouse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.]