LETTER: Keeping the lights on is an ‘everybody’ problem

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015

By Joseph Wills

As a resident of Culpeper for the past 11 years, I have seen a rise and fall of the economy and an influx of housing, businesses and traffic the town was seemingly unprepared to handle. The time has come for us, as a community, to recognize Culpeper not as the small town of old, but as a potentially prosperous and successful county where families look forward to raising their children.

In these past 11 years, the Town/County of Culpeper has raked in enormous amounts of tax dollars without growth to community services, so to speak. Yes, new businesses have opened their doors, only increasing the amount of tax dollars received.

One facet of growth and revenue for Culpeper is the performing arts; housing a venue that is both convenient and inexpensive compared to other markets in the Virginia/D.C. area.  The  State Theatre not only provides our community (and surrounding areas) with a safe, comfortable environment to enjoy the performing arts, it also boosts local shops and restaurants throughout the year.

To see this performing arts venue close its doors at the end of the year would be a grave injustice to all those who not only enjoy the theatre, but for those who have worked so hard and given their all to keep it running.

In the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season, I am challenging the Town/County of Culpeper and its newly-elected officials to step up and make a difference within the community they represent.  I have contributed a considerable amount to this effort and urge everyone to contribute whatever monies you can afford to donate.

Speaking with Mr. Steven Barker from the State Theatre, he advised the fundraising efforts have collected nearly $100,000; still $300,000 shy of their goal.  I am asking you, the town council, board of supervisors and other county decision makers to rework the books and shift funds wherever possible to Save the State!

This isn’t a “town” or “county” problem. This is an “everybody” problem. This is for the current fans of performing arts, for future generations to have the same opportunities we sometimes take for granted.  This is for the continuation of a somewhat luxury in a town that is lacking in that regard — the ability to keep doors open for those who enjoy performing arts and for those performers who otherwise wouldn’t have a stage to do what they love.

Joseph Wills