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Published July 12, 2013, 09:13 AM

$50,000 offered to establish Valley City theater

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) — A city-county development group in Valley City is offering $50,000 to anyone who establishes a movie theater in the southeastern North Dakota community.

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) — A city-county development group in Valley City is offering $50,000 to anyone who establishes a movie theater in the southeastern North Dakota community.

The lone theater in the city closed more than a year ago when the owner retired. Valley Development Group Director Jennifer Feist said a movie theater is something that is important to a community the size of Valley City, which has about 6,500 residents and is home to Valley City State University.

"(Theaters) are one of those anchors in a community," she said. "It's an amenity that is really important to the quality of life we have here."

Feist said "a number of parties" have expressed interest in reopening the theater, and the development group decided to offer the grant because the investment required is significant. When the theater closed it was facing an expensive conversion to digital movies — a process that can surpass $60,000. Hollywood studios have mandated the digital format by promising to produce only digital movies starting next year.

In the city of Lisbon, south of Valley City, residents recently raised more than $123,000 to save their 1911-built theater by converting it from film to digital format. In Page, to the northeast of Valley City, residents recently contributed about $70,000 in upfront money and another $20,000 in pledges over the coming years to save their theater.

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