August 28, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: Letter from Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013


---- — Theatre will open and be a benefit to the community

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to an Aug. 21 column written by Dave Kitchell.

I appreciated your concerns about the fate of both theatres in town, The State and the soon-to-open multi-plex. I, too, share your concerns about both businesses being supported by the citizens of Logansport and surrounding communities. You correctly point out that in these tough economic times, cities should rightfully focus on their existing institutions. However, I would like to clarify some obvious misunderstandings.

I wish to address what I perceive to be a continuing skepticism about the construction pace of the theatre in which I am involved, the new five-screen Mary Max Cinemas. I was hired late last year to be the general manager of this theatre and moved to the Logansport area in March of this year. I am familiar with the pace of constructing movie theatres having opened numerous complexes over the course of my near 30-year career in theatre management.

The last theatre I opened was a four-screen with 3,500-square-feet less of space than this new facility. That building took almost 10 months from ground-breaking to full opening. Quite frankly, based on the few newspaper articles I read about the theatre that pre-dated my employment, I believe there were some optimistic projections about an expected completion date. I also admit that statements I have made to the press since my hiring have tended to support that rosy view.

What most concerns me now, is the narrative that the new theatre will somehow not open at all. Nothing could be further from the truth! At no time, since construction began earlier in the year, has there been a halt to the construction of the building. Granted the pace has not been to anyone’s liking, least of all mine. I have had to repeatedly address this pessimistic idea and it simply does not make very much sense. The small group of investors who have put this project together have made a substantial personal commitment to the community and are dedicated to the idea of bringing high-end entertainment options back to small and mid-sized communities in the Midwest.

I am also very surprised by your dismissal of the impact this theatre will have to the economic picture in town. This theatre will employ a good number of full- and part-time staff. It will most certainly be a source of tax revenue for the city, not only taxes that we will pay but taxes that will be paid, and additional jobs created, by other businesses such as restaurants that are attracted to Logansport by the presence of a state-of-the art movie theatre. It is also worth mentioning that more than 85 percent of the over $4 million invested in the theater has been spent locally. As a new member of the local business community, I will try to convince other new businesses to believe in our town and make similar investments.

In conclusion, Mary Max Cinemas believed in the Logansport community and made it the location of our first attempt at bringing a state-of-the-art movie-going experience back to smaller communities.

Regardless of the difficulties in construction and equipment supply timing earlier this year, we will soon open the finest movie theatre facility in the region – and we couldn’t be more excited to do it!

I invite readers to visit or find us on Facebook at Mary Max Cinemas Logansport 5. Thank you.

Richard Dieffenbach

General manager,Mary Max Cinemas