Local News

Councilman: People Have 'Right to Know’ About Theater

Posted November 16, 2007

— For the first time, a city official in Roanoke Rapids has spoken out against how the city has handled its contract negotiations with the Randy Parton Theatre.

City Councilman Jon Baker said the city should be more open with the public about the theater, which the city borrowed $21 million to build.

Baker released the following statement: “While I understand the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, I also feel a duty to the people I represent when decisions of this magnitude are being made. Full disclosure and transparency is what this community needs. The people have a right to know."

Mayor Drewery Beale said council members' hands were tied with current negotiations.

“There’s not a member of this council that would not like to go ahead and get this matter cleared up,” Beale said.

Beale said the city can't legally discuss the negotiations in public. Many are disappointed the city won't say more.

The local newspaper also criticized the city in an editorial saying the council signed a sweetheart contract with Randy Parton. The paper also wants the city to disclose more information.

The mayor said he recognizes a lot of people are upset but said the council has the community's best interests at heart.

Under the state's public records law, WRAL requested all e-mail between city leaders dealing with the Randy Parton Theater. City officials said they were compiling those messages.

As for the new contract with the theater, it could be released during Tuesday's city council meeting.


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  • shine Nov 18, 2007

    I was told that Randy Partin was supposed to account for all the money spent on the theater, complex, whatever. I was in an audotorium at a community college yesterday that had more seats in it. Where has the 21 million gone? Did Randy take the money and run - someone is getting rooked in this deal - unfortunatly it is the citizens of Roanoke Rapids.

  • EricaSliver Nov 17, 2007

    Oh No! My feelings are hurt! :-) I grew up in RR and have nothing but fond memories from my childhood hometown. Yes, the papermill gives off a, ehem, cruddy smell. But I swear natives don't even notice it! So, besides that, RR is a wonderful, growing city. Give the theater a chance. I'm not sure if you know, but it will soon be surrounded by a professional pool hall, a huge aquarium, a water park, outlet shopping and much more. As far as the location, I think RR is perfect. It's directly off I-95, which has tons of travellers all up and down the east coast. You can't build something like this in a huge city...no room. Give it time and I'm sure all of you will be visiting Carolina Crossroads and having a wonderful time!

  • dws Nov 17, 2007

    not a good situation at all......back room deals never work out in the long run

  • richard2 Nov 17, 2007

    They really really really don't want the public to know.

  • giffman Nov 17, 2007

    Who is Randy Parton and why would anyone want to pay to see him? That is the question that should have been asked from the start.

  • Jokers Wild II Nov 17, 2007

    I wonder what they will use the theater for after they lose the building/contract? I knew this whole thing was a scam/joke when they first talked about building it.. I mean come on, in Roanoke Rapids? The only thing that Roanoke Rapids is known for is the stankin' air that comes from the paper mill.. Oh well, i can about GURANTEE someone in the City Office has a pretty fat checking account from all of this..

  • districtcadvocate Nov 17, 2007

    When the voters in North Carolina approved Ammendment One I am certain this type of activity was not approved. The Mayor stated that they had the best interest of the citizens of Roanoke Rapids, you can not have anyone's best interest at heart when you can not publish the elements of such a radical deal or that you have the ability spend tax payers money without full transparency.

    I tell you what what ever benefits TIF financing could have provided other communities will be seriously undermined by this indifference to the voters. I pray what ever was done under the covers initially can stand the light of day.

  • Boogalooboy Nov 17, 2007

    Smells as if small town is going up town....C-O-R-U-P-T......maybe

  • shine Nov 17, 2007

    "The city can't legally discuss the negotiations in public".

    How can a city who has tax paying citizens make a decision to borrow money and build a theater in the city limits and tell the citizens of Roanoke Rapids that they can not discuss the negotiations legally in public. What other things are they also not discussing. It sounds like the mayor and city commissioners, and the town council has a free run to do anything they want and not explain their actions. Sounds borderline corrupt.

  • Rolling Along Nov 17, 2007

    I really have to wonder about the greed and short sightedness of a project like this. Not to slight Roanoke Rapids but it is not exactly a tourist mecca. I realize someone has to start somewhere, but a big name (which Randy Parton ain't) is really needed to get the ball rolling. I hope it works for the best, but I suspect the timing is going to prove to be all wrong as the US economy cools.