Old theater will become gun range, auction set for Saturday

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

HARRISBURG, Ill. - Coke machines, popcorn bags, old movie posters, and projectors, this Saturday pieces of a local movie theater can be yours. The new owners of the AMC Theater building in Harrisburg, Illinois are opening it up and auctioning it off.

The theater closed three years ago and has sat boarded up and empty since. The plans for the place likely aren't what you'd expect.

Roman Kuppart said the interior of the movie theater hasn't been touched in three years.

"They walked out, locked the doors, and left everything here," he said.

But that's about to change. He's trustee of Triad Development, a group of local investors who closed on the building in May. Their goal is to turn the theater into a state-of-the-art shooting range.

"The plans for the gun range were in motion prior to concealed carry being passed," he said.

Kuppart said the response from the public's been tremendous. The investment group's holding the auction on Saturday. Everything inside is tagged and ready to go.

As part of the property sale, AMC stipulated the building can't be a theater again.

"The restrictive covenant states this property can no longer be used as a movie theater, forever," said Kuppart.

Kuppart believes the recent passage of concealed carry in Illinois offers them incentive to move quicker. He said the city and county will benefit from the increased traffic downtown.

"We've already contacted firearms instructors that are certified, both NRA certified and ISP certified firearms instructors to teach concealed carry classes," he said.

The group intends to start construction as soon as possible. Kuppart anticipates they'll be open by the end of the year.

The auction starts at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

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