Churchill County’s economy took another big step Thursday as tribal, city and county officials ushered in a major state-of-the art project north of the Fox Peak gas station that will house an eight-screen multiplex cinema.
A ground-breaking ceremony signaled the beginning of the $11.5 million project that should be ready to open in late fall.
Rod Ariwite, director of Fallon Tribal Development Corporation, said the project to build the cinema began three years ago, but the project gathered steam during the past year. Additionally, Ariwite said the FTDC was established to promote the economic efforts of the people of Churchill County and is a federally chartered corporation of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe.
The pride showed in Ariwite’s voice when he said the only cinema of this magnitude operates in Boise, Idaho.
“We’ve been working toward a dream. We’ve been chasing it for a long time,” he said, adding that patrons will be able to see movies in the manner producers had intended. “We want the community to enjoy the facility and the benefits from it.”
Ariwite said this is only the beginning of the development of the property that stretches from Williams Avenue north of Sherman Street and includes about 67 acres. Eventually, he said the FTDC would like to develop more restaurants in the area.
Toni Burton, economic development specialist for the FTDC, said construction of the eight-screen cinema will showcase wall-to-wall screens, an enhanced sound system, luxury Irwin seating and digital presentation in every auditorium. In addition, several auditoriums will have RealD-3D capability as well as the new Dolby Atmos sound system.
Tribal Chairman Len George said economic development has taken another step and will benefit both the tribe and community.
“We continue to look at economic development that will bring jobs to our community, not only for our tribe but for the people of Churchill County,” he said. “More employment opportunities will continue to grow.”
Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said he knows what the FTDC has undergone in trying to plan and execute the construction of a major project. He commended the tribe’s perseverance in moving forward with the cinema.
“What this project will do for our community is improve the quality of life,” Tedford said. “It will bring people outside of our community to Fallon from places like Austin and Gabbs and Hawthorne.”
County Commission Vice-Chairman Carl Erquiaga called it a great day for the community.
“Economic development is one of the most important things we work on,” he said. “This will be a great asset. I know my family and I will be using this facility a lot. We get tired of driving to Reno.”
Jon Pishion, president of the FTDC, said the project will hire as many contractors and workers as possible to construct the cinema. He also said FTDC’s goal is to develop the entire parcel of land.