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Central City to Open New Movie Theater

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If you build it, they will come --- that's the hope behind Central City's new movie theater.

"Towns go through periods of extreme growth and building, and we are definitely going through one of those in Central City," explains Merrick Foundation Executive Director Chuck Griffith.

All of Merrick County is getting behind this massive project after the State Theater closed in 2013.

"They'll be using local contractors and such. It just helps everybody; it will show other businesses the community will help out and rally around new businesses that come to town," says Angie Cordesen, executive director of the Central City Chamber of Commerce.

The Merrick Foundation has garnered donations both large and small, but possibly the largest donation has come from lifelong Central City resident Darrell Widman.

Widman donated $100,000 to have the naming rights to the new cinema. And this isn't his first time in the movie business.

"When I was in the popcorn business I was involved with the theater industry quite a bit; I had all the AMC theaters west of the Mississippi, supplying them with popcorn," Widman tells us.

Now Widman hopes this donation will continue his family's legacy. "I like to be a part of the progress. I enjoy seeing a change and growth in the community."

With many changes, however, comes many more obstacles to overcome.

"It's exciting to reach this milestone, but we've still got a lot of work to do. There's still a lot ahead of us but we know where we're gonna end up and we're gonna have a really great theater when we're done here," explains Central City's city administrator, Chris Anderson.

The Merrick Foundation hopes to have the Widman Cinema completed by late fall.

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