Resurrecting the Hil-Top?

Hil-Top Screen 2012 Could a new generation have the opportunity to experience a drive-in movie? In March 2012, community meetings were held to discuss the possibility of opening a community-owned drive-in theatre. The idea originated from discussions at Chamber of Commerce meetings. The committee needed to secure a new location for the existing screen, construct buildings, and purchase a digital projector, and sound and concession equipment. The project was spearheaded by Rush County Economic Development office and the Rush County Chamber of Commerce.

Hil-Top Screen 2012 One of the first projects in constructing a new drive-in was relocating the massive screen. Although it is no longer possible to rebuild the facility on its original site, the landowner has offered to donate the screen to the community. The massive 40x64 feet corrugated steel screen was installed on the current site in June 1967 a year after a tornado destroyed the original screen. Although the screen is not formatted for today's movies, it can be adapted. It is designed to withstand winds of up to 130 miles per hour, and is still considered “state of the art” today.

Drive-In Data Update: Although their numbers have declined significantly, drive-ins have experienced a slight resurgence in the past few years. However, after considerable discussion and research, the committee reached the conclusion that that project would not be feasible at the present time in our community. Land acquisition, costs of digital projection equipment, and construction costs would be prohibitive. Rush County Economic Development has compiled a large amount of information about drive-in construction and may consider pursuing the project again at a later date.