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Independence Cinema Opens March 18

INDEPENDENCE - The much-anticipated Independence Cinema 8 will open its doors to the general public on Sunday, March 18.

INDEPENDENCE - The much-anticipated Independence Cinema 8 will open its doors to the general public on Sunday, March 18.

The theater is recruiting for a staff of about 30, including ushers, projectionists, concession workers, four assistant managers and one general manager position.

"All hires will be local," said Tammie Ferguson, senior vice president for Prestige Development and project head.

Those interested have until 7 p.m. on Friday to turn in applications at the Independence Library. Ferguson said the company will conduct interviews on Feb. 19.

While the 826-seat theater officially opens on March 18, some Polk County residents will get a sneak-preview.

An invitation-only event is scheduled for March 17 for local business owners and government officials.

And the Friends of the Independence Public Library will host a benefit showing of "Akeelah and the Bee" at the theater on March 12, with all proceeds going to the library.

Ferguson said the latter would be used as training exercise for new staff members.

"It's a win-win for both groups," she said. "It gives us a chance to practice and gives them an opportunity to do something unique for the community."

Theater ticket prices will be $8.50 for adults, and $6 for matinees, children ages 2-11 and seniors over 65. Independence Cinema 8 also plans to sell tickets at the Werner Center bookstore on the Western Oregon University campus.

"Our goal is to get prepurchased tickets and offer a discount for students," said Kristi Dopp, bookstore manager.

The exterior walls and roof of the $4 million, 18,000-square-foot theater building were erected in December on the site of the old Southern Pacific hop warehouse. Interior work and appliance and furnishing installation should be complete by March 1, Ferguson said.

City leaders have said the theater will give an economic boost to the community and draw new businesses into the downtown area. Dusty Spur Pizza, formerly Spoleto's, moved from Monmouth to Independence in December.

"Anything that gets people into town and driving through the streets is excellent," said Andy Scott, owner of Andy's Cafe on Main Street. "I'm very enthused about it."

So is his wife, Denice, who won an annual pass at the Hop and Heritage Festival last fall.

"I won tickets for a year," she said, with a laugh. "So it will have a big impact on me personally."

Independence Cinema 8 is located at 450 S. 2nd St.

Employment applications are available at the Independence Library, City Hall and online at www.independencecinema8.com.

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