WASHINGTON, IND. (WTHI) - A southern Indiana community received a Grinch-like present just before Christmas.
That was when the new owners of the only movie theater in Washington Indiana announced that they would close it down.
With a new year the community is already starting efforts to re-open the theater.
Downtown Washington is dressed up with new lights and sidewalks, but it now has a glaring scar among its businesses.
The Indiana Theater is boarded up and shut down.
New owner AMC said the building needed too many repairs to stay in operation.
Now the movie magic is gone from the community and folks don't like it.
"It made me sad and it angers me," said Holly Dyer of Washington. "This is a community icon."
The closing of the theater is even having an impact on other businesses downtown.
At "The Taste of the Orient" dinner and a movie doesn't work if there is no movie.
"It's like dinner and a movie right next to each other," said Bronzella Morris at the restaurant. "It's perfect. It just hasn't been happening as much at night time."
Beyond the business side though Morris believes the closing impacts everyone in the area.
"It's one of the only things to do for fun," she explained. "It's where you have your first date. The place where you drive to when you get your car, and it's where you take your children."
The theater has been the center of social life in the area for almost a century and there is an effort underway to try and keep it in operation.
"We're going to try and find out what its going to sell for and if it's something reasonable then we're going to try to get hold of the theater and take efforts to restore it," said Charles Selby with the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce.
Then they plan to lease the building to a theater operator that could put it back in operation.
That is something important to both downtown businesses and the community as a whole.
"It helps show there's some vitality in the downtown so we definitely want to get that back open again," added Selby.
` "I think if someone could re-open the theater that would be fabulous," said Dyer. "I would probably cry tears of joy."
Because bringing the movies back to downtown is something people in Washington want to see.
Community leaders say they are waiting for AMC to put the theater up for sale before beginning their recovery plan.
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