Local News

Roanoke Rapids Looks Ahead Without Parton or His Name to Draw Tourists

Posted January 9, 2008

— There are new concerns about the land that surrounds the Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

The Roanoke Rapids City Council voted Tuesday night to change the theater's name to that from the Randy Parton Theatre.

Now that Parton is out, big plans for nearby areas appear to be on hold, and that is a huge financial concern for the city.

The night of Dec. 6, the city asked Parton to leave the theater. The mayor said he was under the influence of alcohol. Parton's departure has left the community with something to think about.

“I have done my agreements. Do you see anything else around here?” Parton said.

Developers promoted Carolina Crossroads as a tourist destination. Besides the theater, there are not that many touristy things to do, however.

“It's certainly going to affect business to some point. It's going to, if nothing else, decrease the number of people who get off Interstate 95,” said Phyllis Lee, the city manager.

Surrounding the theater, there is a recreational vehicle park, an outdoor amphitheater and a hotel set to open next month. Everything else is still in the planning or development stages.

“This doesn't happen overnight. Development is not easy in the best of circumstances and in the best economy,” said Allen Purser, president of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Carolina Crossroads managers maintain the best is yet to come.

In two weeks, developers will break ground on 25,000 square feet of retail shops next to the theater. Some restaurants are also on the way. Negotiations continue for a sports complex and a dinner theater.

The city borrowed more than $21 million to get the Parton theater where it is, and much of that money is gone.

Lee said Roanoke Rapids has $400,000 of the $21.5 million it received in bond proceeds still available for use at the theater. She also said she does not foresee a need to use the remaining money.

The city has 20 years to pay back the money it was loaned and it is too early to tell if it will be able to pay the money back early, Lee said.


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  • JuanGrande v3.0 Jan 10, 2008

    Roanoke Rapids has enough trouble with gangs, do you really want to open a rap venue there too?

  • NCSUPackfan Jan 10, 2008

    Maybe it could be an illegal alien detention center then? I'll call Liddy Dole up and see what she says. :-P

  • Leonardo Jan 10, 2008

    Irishiii - My comment about turning it into a rap venue was meant to be a joke.

    But perhaps we should turn it into a Spanish music venue! Then not only can we listen to conservative complaints about wasteful spending in general, we can also listen to them complain about the government wasting money on illegal immigration! Double the fun!

  • ma2345 Jan 10, 2008

    I agree with some of the posters about different venues.
    Unless your a redneck there is nothing there to see.
    Hank Williams and that girl, Gretchen something, that actually sings "I am a redneck woman". How charming.

  • iamforjustice Jan 10, 2008

    Gaydalf...those stats may be correct but the people we are speaking of are not from RR. You keep commenting on my comments...why? I sorry to intimidate you so much as you feel you have to debate me...lol...but its all good. I enjoy your comments. And so does everyone else. Keep up the commentation.

  • IzzMad2016 Jan 10, 2008

    No doubt that theater will do fine without Randy Parton on the marque. The name Randy Parton wouldn't be enough of a draw for me to cross the street to see him let alone drive to VA. Dolly, maybe. Randy, not ever.

  • now Jan 10, 2008

    I wish some "crack" reporter (if we have one around here) would dig deep into what is really going on here. Most singers drink alot...that is nothing new. Sounds like a CYA event for the politians since the theater was losing so much money.

  • jimbo56 Jan 10, 2008

    What's the additional cost of changing the name and all of the signage along the roads? Keep digging, the hole isn't deep enough yet!

  • NCSUPackfan Jan 10, 2008

    Leonoardo: "nobody listens to country music in these areas....if they were to turn it into a rap venue, then perhaps it would have a chance."

    I dislike most country music and am in fact listening to Kanye West on my mp3 right now. But your comment is totally without merit. For example, WMZQ in DC has 4% arbitron market share and they play country exclusively. For each of the areas you stated, contemporary format, R&B, Spanish music and News Talk are top and significantly beat Rap.

    Maybe they should just turn it into a giant BBQ hut.

  • Gandalf The White Jan 10, 2008

    “As for the entertainment, hip hop is big and it would bring in a lot of money.” IAmAnIdiot

    Races in Roanoke Rapids as of 2005:
    White Non-Hispanic (71.6%)
    Black (24.9%)
    Hispanic (1.1%)
    American Indian (0.8%)
    Two or more races (0.6%)
    Asian Indian (0.5%) The stupidity never ends does it IAmAnIdiot? Why I am sure people who are in the hip hop music industry will all be rushing as fast as then can to be the 1st to schedule a hip hop show and make Roanoke Rapids the next Mecca of hip hop music. I am certain given the demographic make up of Roanoke Rapids that venture would be a gold mine. I am amazed this hasn’t happened yet. Yea right!