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Independent Economic Impact Study Predicts Restored Appalachian Theatre Will Revitalize Downtown Boone

Sept. 19, 2014. The non-profit organization responsible for the renovation and restoration of The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country announced some good news at Thursday’s Boone Town Council meeting, thanks to the findings of an Economic Impact and Tax Revenue Analysis of the Theatre.

The purpose of the independent study, conducted by the Center of Economics Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA) at Appalachian State University (ASU), is to analyze and quantify the economic impacts that are projected to accrue to the region from the operations of the Theatre. The region includes Ashe, Avery, and Watauga counties in North Carolina.

34c6ac_12e8f3283e5d4b65b1d350405efc8b03.png_srz_p_252_132_75_22_0.50_1.20_0“Once the renovations are complete and the venue is fully operational, the Theatre is expected to host approximately 200 events per year. Of these, 60 will be considered destination draws such as live music or theater,” said Dr. Michael McKee, principal author of the study. A Professor of Economics at ASU, McKee is Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director at CERPA.

As a result, the study predicts that the direct spending by visitors and residents who attend Theatre events rather than travel elsewhere for entertainment to be approximately $3 million per year. According to McKee, these direct expenditures will, in turn, circulate throughout the regional economy resulting in a total economic activity increase of approximately $4.5 million each year.

Furthermore, the study predicts that the additional economic activity would generate an estimated 53 new full time equivalent jobs with total additional labor earnings of $1.4 million per year. “These results demonstrate that the potential economic impacts attributable to the Theatre are quite large for our market,” concluded McKee.

“We view the reopening of the Appalachian Theatre as a win on multiple fronts,” said John Cooper, Chairman of Mast General Stores and head of the Theatre’s Board of Trustees. “The Theatre will create jobs, revitalize Boone’s downtown district, and serve as a significant economic driver for the region.”

Keith Martin, Vice Chair of the Board and Distinguished Professor of Theatre at ASU, noted that, “These positive findings do not include the many intangible benefits such as the positive impact on livability, an extended nightlife, an enhanced quality of life, and positive image for the residents and visitors to the High Country region.”

The Theatre, which has exchanged hands several times since it opened in 1938, was acquired in 2013 by a non-profit entity, the ATHC, with the intention of restoring the theatre to its original glory days. Once complete, the venue will accommodate hundreds of attractions each season, including live music, theater, opera, video streaming, and community activities. These events will result in increased visits to the region with many of these visitors staying in the area overnight, enjoying restaurant meals and shopping in the various retail establishments located in the High Country.

To learn more about the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, visit their website at www.savetheapptheatre.com.