12th Street Cinema upgrade enhances a local treasure

It’s the “Best Seat in the House,” as well as one of the best entertainment values in Central Nebraska.
Aurora’s 12th Street Cinema re-opened its doors last week with a new, upgraded look and feel designed to enhance an already terrific movie-going experience. The latest improvements now feature 120 comfy new seats, as well as new carpet and floor lighting, creating an even more enticing invite to relax and enjoy the latest flick.
This $38,000 upgrade is the latest chapter in a 17-year success story that locals know well. It’s been volunteer driven since Day 1, which makes this theater “our theater” for anyone who calls Aurora and Hamilton County home. That just adds to the atmosphere when you walk in the front door, regardless of what show happens to be playing.
When staff and board members noticed that the seating was beginning to show its age, they put the word out and not surprisingly got a positive response. More than $33,000 was raised in a few months time from donors and local foundations, just a few years after an earlier community-based call for support provided $100,000 needed to convert the theater to digital technology.
Raising money to cover maintenance and upgrades in this way allows the board to keep costs down, which is one of the tickets to the 12th Street Cinema’s allure. You can still buy a ticket for $3 or $4 -- $10 for a family -- just like you could in 1999, and the popcorn is a bargain as well. That’s a fraction of what it costs to spend the night at the movies almost anywhere.
It’s hard to put a dollar figure on just what this small-town theater means to Hamilton County. Ever since its 1999 debut, the 12th Street Cinema has been a source of pride and joy to a wide range of audiences, for various reasons, all of which contribute to our quality of life.
For youngsters and teenagers, the downtown theater is all about fun, having a place to go with your friends and be a kid. For parents, the cinema is an inexpensive night out, and a safe environment to take or send your children. For movie lovers, it’s a quality setting to enjoy the latest releases. And for volunteers, spending an afternoon or evening at the concession stand is a way to give back to your community and be part of something everyone enjoys.
In the words of Siskel and Ebert, two thumbs way, way up to a hometown treasure.
Kurt Johnson

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