By Paul T. Choate
April 15, 2013. The Boone Town Council will hold their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 16. Among agenda items are consideration of the $20,000 request from the Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA) to open “Horn in the West” as well as discussion on scheduling a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to finalize proposed changes to the Table of Permissible Uses.
Due to financial difficulties stemming from numerous issues, the Southern Appalachian Historical Association needs $20,000 in order to open “Horn in the West” for the 2013 summer season. According to SAHA Chairwoman Michelle Ligon, lower attendance last year due to five rain-outs and the absence of a $5,000 grant from the N.C. Arts Council that they had received in prior years have been the main contributing factor to the production’s woes.
If able to open, “Horn in the West” will be cutting costs by reducing their operating budget and by starting the season later than in past years. The performance used to start in mid-June but has scheduled June 28 as opening night this season. The show will be extended one week past when it usually closes in August, resulting in a six-day cut in the season. Ligon said the schedule change was done because attendance was typically higher in July and August.
Ligon said cutting the season by six days would result in a 12 percent reduction in salary costs and said SAHA has asked the director to cut another 4.5 percent from the production budget. She also said that “Horn in the West” will change their marketing strategy, only advertising in the major visitor guides in the area and not advertising in smaller publications where they have in the past.
Based on the agenda item, the Councilwoman Lynne Mason proposes a match challenge. The town would agree to match SAHA up to $10,000 in funds raised, provided that SAHA receive technical assistance “to address organizational and budgetary issues for long term sustainability” and that the county does not change the local sales tax distribution method.
Since 2005, the town has supported SAHA with materials, labor and direct payments to the tune of $236,716.42 in addition to sublease income for the Horn In The West Drive parking lot paid directly to SAHA.
“Horn in the West,” along with Manteo’s “The Lost Colony” and Cherokee’s “Unto These Hills,” are the three oldest outdoor dramas in the nation. Of North Carolina’s 11 outdoor dramas, the performance has the third highest attendance.
SAHA is looking at several ways to raise funds. There is currently an online fundraising effort in the works to help raise money for “Horn in the West.”
Also on the agenda will be discussion to schedule a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to finalize proposed changes to the town’s Table of Permissible Uses and schedule a special public hearing.
The second of three workshops regarding revisions to the Town of Boone’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) took place March 25. A highlight of the workshop was the revision of the town’s Table of Permissible Uses. Several specific use categories were added or augmented on the table to provide better clarification, including emergency response communication antennas, a more detailed description of types of breweries and wineries and even swine farms.
The third UDO workshop is scheduled for May 7.
To view the full agenda, click here.