The Hardacre Theater's Fight To Stay Alive, Reached $114k In Don - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

The Hardacre Theater's Fight To Stay Alive, Reached $114k In Donations

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"It's a place that I came to, my parents brought me too," said Treasurer of the Hardacre Theater Preservation Association Shellby Wiskus. "I brought my children too and I want to bring my grandchildren to. It's a staple in our downtown and I want to see it kept alive."

Even though the seats are upholstered in different colors and fabrics, the steps up to the balcony may creak and the interior could use a little TLC... this theater holds nearly a century of a small town's best memories. 

"Kids movies were always fun when you'd go in there and the kids were laughing and having a good time," said Former Owner of the Hardacre Theater Stuart Clark. "When we had Christmas movies, we'd fill the place up before DVDs took over."

Clark owned and operated the theater for 22 years before he realized he couldn't afford to keep it going.

"It was an agonizing decision," said Stuart. "I probably should have done it a couple years ago, but we wanted to keep it open for the community and we did it pretty much as long as we could."

He closed the Hardacre's doors in August, knowing a local group would fight to keep it alive. 

"This is phase one. Now we're on to phase two," said Wiskus.
Phase two means starting renovations for the theater. With just a few days left before it's fundraising deadline, they got a $40,000 anonymous donation.
"That was just tremendous," said Wiskus. "And that was the boost that got us where we needed to be today."

It was a gift of generosity that had been previously matched by another donor who also wanted to remain unknown. They nearly doubled their goal, reaching $114,000.

Now, they can buy the building the theater's in and start hiring architects to build their vision.
"When we have our feelings of doubts, we bring each other up," said Wiskus. "The community comes out with positive feedback and it lifts our spirits, it kept us going."

Wiskus said this project in whole will probably cost millions of dollars.

Their goal is to open on the theater's 100th anniversary in April 2016.


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