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Hardacre Theatre Group Reaches Goal

TIPTON, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- You would never think in the middle of the day that a marquee would shine as bright as the one at Hardacre theatre.

It's just an awesome sight to see, said Greg Brown, president of the Hardacre Theatre Preservation Association. There's been so much work put into this project.

That work started nearly two years ago in Tipton, as several residents formed the Hardacre Theatre Preservation Association after the theatre was forced to close its doors.

It was projecting 35 millimeter film and the movie industry doesn't do that anymore, said Will Valet, Vice President of the Hardacre Theatre Preservation Association.

So the association began its fundraising quest, utilizing resources like Indiegogo to reach their $60,000 goal.

You try to put the doubt in the back of your mind, said Shellby Wiskus, the Associations treasurer. You get a little nervous but we didn't lose hope."

That faith was rewarded, as donations came in from everywhere

There was a group of kids at the school that sold T-Shirts, another family sold pumpkins during the Halloween season and gave us the money, Valet said.

$5 dollars here, $10 dollars there, a $40,000 dollar donation was contributed as well.

$114,000 later, the good news got to Brown.

Unfortunately I was driving at the time, so I couldn't jump up and down, Brown said, smiling. It was just a surreal moment.

The goal has been reached, but the work isn't over just yet.  Phase 2 of the project will begin soon, and that will be a multi-million dollar effort.

We want to keep this historical aspect of it, but there's a lot that needs to be done in terms of electricity, in terms of water, Valet said.

Eventually the plan is to put in a digital projector as well.

However, that all comes later. Right now the theatre association is grateful this story is still on track for a happy ending.

The association says they hope to have everything up and running just in time for the theatre's 100th anniversary in 2016. They also say they will continue to collect donations for phase 2 of the project.

TIPTON (CBS 2/FOX 28) --
   A historic Eastern Iowa movie theater is getting another shot at life after film.
   The Hardacre Theatre Preservation Association now says it has reached its fundraising goal to buy the Tipton venue.
   The nonprofit launched a month-long campaign on Indegogo to raise $60,500.
   Members say they are thrilled with the response and can't wait to move forward with the project.
   "We so appreciate everyone that donated and believed in our vision and are allowing us to make it happen.  We want to get a conceptual drawing so that people know where we're headed," said Shellby Wiskus, treasurer for the Hardacre Theatre Preservation Association.
   The group's next steps will be to renovated and reopen the theater with digital projection.
   Members say they've already spoken to some architects about the project.
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