The theater’s ability to draw people to downtown Miamisburg has had a significant residual impact on other activities and downtown businesses, Johnson said.
Those include includes an array of independent specialty retail shops, restaurants, two breweries and a music venue at Riverfront Park.
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“We’re finding a lot of these people come down for a movie (and) they’ll go to (restaurants) and grab a bite to eat,” he said. “Or they’ll stop off for a concert in the park or go get some ice cream.
“So, yes, it has done everything that we had hoped it would do,” Johnson added. “And downtown needs it to be successful. You’re not drawing people to the downtown – for the most part – that are citizens. A lot of the services (residents) want they get outside of the downtown.
“But these are destination visitors that come downtown just for the experience of being in the downtown,” he continued. “And downtown needs to be more than just restaurants to be successful. And the movie theater is an example of those types of other uses.”
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The single-screen theater at 33 S. Main St. reopened with the concept of showing classic films with digitally-enhanced technology for $5 a ticket, an admission which hasn’t increased.
A $350,000 project spearheaded by the Plaza Theatre Association transformed a building had been vacant for more than a decade into a 5,200-square-foot auditorium with more than 280 seats, and a concession area and lobby.
Having surpassed its 2018 attendance goal, the task ahead is “to break even financially, which is within reach,” Doug Sorrell of the theater association said in an email.
The plaza’s self-sufficiency is important to the Miamisburg City Council, which agreed three years ago to guarantee its five-year loan.
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“The only thing that we’ve done is set aside some money,” Johnson said, adding that “the theater has been able to meet its obligations. So it’s not costing the taxpayers anything.
“It’s paid off,” he said of the city’s support of the Plaza. “It’s doing everything and more that we thought it would be doing.”