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Budget bites into Charlotte historical sites

The state budget now before Gov. Bev Perdue would force staffing cuts at some state historic sites and museums, likely resulting in shorter hours, reduced programming and increased reliance on donations and admission fees.

Three sites - Tryon Palace in New Bern, the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, and the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo - would eventually have to become self-supporting, or close some or all of their exhibits.

Tryon Palace, which just opened the new $60 million N.C. History Center in October, would see a 36 percent cut in state funding in the coming budget year, a 57 percent cut in the next year and loss of all state funding by the 2014 budget year.

The attraction is regarded as a major economic engine in New Bern and the surrounding area, drawing people from every state and from abroad. The palace, which got about $4.1 million in state money for budget year ending June 30 and raised more than $1 million more from ticket sales and private sources, is said to generate $41 million in spending in Eastern North Carolina each year.

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