Local News

N.C. Budget Crunch Affecting State Historic Sites

Posted March 13, 2002

— North Carolina's budget mess may affect your weekend plans. State historic sites are surviving cuts by laying off staff and closing their gates.

The Morrison family has been taking a tour of the Duke Homestead in Durham. Rain or shine, they are making the most of every day before they have to go back home to Texas.

"We're on vacation and we try to look around and see, especially in America, what we've been through to get where we are today," Larry Morrison said.

Budget cuts are forcing site managers to make difficult decisions. Davis Waters of Bennett Place in Durham says cutting any weekdays is out of the question because that is when they get their biggest crowds.

"Starting in April, we will see more and more school groups coming, quite a number of school groups. We may have three or four groups a day," Waters said.

Waters had to lay off two part-time employees who served as weekend tour guides. Other staffers need their weekends free just to make ends meet.

"Some of our staff have other jobs that they need to be working on the weekends to supplement their income," Waters said.

"Everybody nationwide is going through a budget crunch right now, and we need to look at what people want and where we're going with it," Morrison said.

Many state historic sites host special weekend events every year. Those events will continue as planned.

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