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Effort to Save Tipton Theater 'Down to the Wire'

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TIPTON, Iowa -- A nonprofit, trying to save a Tipton movie theater, is running out of time.

The Hardacre Theater Preservation Association has until the end of the month to raise enough funds to buy the Hardacre Theater, or will risk losing the chance.

The group is about $45,000 short of reaching an about $60,000 goal. That money, combined with a pledged $40,000 matching donation, would get the group enough to buy the theater which costs about $91,000.

Tipton's Mary Barnum can remember a time when popcorn filled the Hardacre Theater's concessions stand, and people filled its seats.

"Sister Act, believe it or not, when that was here you couldn't get in the first night. There were lines at both ends of the block. It was overflowing," said Barnum.

The theater closed in August after the operator retired. The nearly 100-year-old facility now sits downtown with no power, no projector, and no customers.

"I see a lot of potential in this building. The bones of the building are still in really good shape," said Greg Brown, the president of the Hardacre Theater Preservation Association, which started in 2012.

Brown said the goal is to buy and restore the theater. HTPA has a purchase agreement with the owner; but needs the money before the deal expires at the end of the month.

To raise the funds, the group has been using YouTube videos and a webpage. Money has been coming in, just not enough. In these final days, HTPA is hoping to see a big bump in donations.

Brown said he doesn't know what will happen to the theater if his group misses their deadline.

"We're getting down to the wire. We've only got what? Two weeks left? Less than two weeks left," said Brown.

This round of fund raising is just the first. If the Hardacre is purchased, the nonprofit aims to renovate the facility and upgrade it with a new digital projector.

If you want to help, check out the group's website: