There is only one movie theater in Hiawatha, and it still shows movies on film, but because of the times and the transition to digital, the owner of the theater in downtown Hiawatha says he plans on shutting his doors.
So, city officials are at their last resort, exploring the possibility of building their own theater.
Nicolette Schleisman explains how the city would pay for it.
The silver screen in Hiawatha could soon go black for good.
“It’s gotten more and more expensive to secure the films and play them here,” said Mike Nichols, City Administrator for the City of Hiawatha.
The Arrow Theater, a two screen movie theater in Hiawatha still shows its movies on film. But soon, all theaters across the nation will be either forced to make the expensive transition from film to digital, or go close their doors for good. Which Hiawatha officials have been planning how to adapt for more than 2 years.
“It’s being looked at as a recreation, an opportunity, an asset to the quality of life in Hiawatha,” said Nichols.
The city has two choices: issuing a bond to build a city-owned theater that can show the newer digital movies, or letting the Arrow close.
Long time residents of the small town say if their theater were gone they would have to go at least an hour away to go catch a movie.
“I don’t want my son driving an hour away for a movie. It’s not something I want to think about at this point,” said Janelle Dickinson, a Hiawatha resident.
So, the city is currently asking its residents if they would think a city-funded theater would be a good choice.
“I’ve lived here the whole life, I’ve gone to the movies my whole life, I’m used to it being here in town, and I think it’s a positive thing for the community, again it’s something for all ages,” said Dickinson.
If this idea passes, the city could issue a bond to pay for the new building, city officials say the theater would theoretically pay for itself. All of the tickets purchased would go straight into paying off the bond for the theater.
The study will be over by the end of January, residents are asked to contact City Hall to share their opinions, for or against, a city funded theater.
If the results from this study are positive, the bond issue could be on the ballots by April.