Sequester Threatens Appomattox Court House
Appomattox, VA - The Appomattox community isn't happy about the recent national park cuts due to sequestration. The loss in funding could result in the park at the historic courthouse closing for a month or more. Business owners there say this could really hurt them too.
Civil War traffic is vital for many businesses there to thrive, especially at bed and breakfasts. The owners of two different B&Bs say history buffs are what keep them going and are worried about anything deterring tourists from the area.
"It is bad news for the whole community," said Dana Mayberry.
Mayberry owns Longacre Bed and Breakfast in Appomattox. She says tourism is their bread and butter.
"We are so dependent on those people to eat and shop and stay here," said Mayberry. "I'm going to tell you 90% of what we do are these people that go to this park alone."
Just down the street at the Babcock House, owners say half of their business comes from people visiting the park.
"You never want visitors to be turned away. I mean, this is a national park that belongs to the American people," said Ernie Price, a park ranger.
Price works at The Appomattox Court House National Park. He admits that winter months aren't the busiest, but there's always a steady flow of visitors.
"You and I are standing here on the middle of a March day. There are people from Australia, England and Alaska standing around us right now," said Price.
The park currently operates 360 days a year. In response to budget cuts, the park plans to lose for one month and could also close an additional two days each week year-round.
"You're talking about a lot of people not even coming through this town and it's kind of scary," said Mayberry.
"In theory, there could be a month in the future where those people get turned away, and of course nobody wants to see that. I hope nobody wants to see that," said Price.
Not to mention the 150th anniversary of the surrender is not far off. In a time when the park should be gearing up for the big event, they feel like they now have to gear down.