THOMPSON, N.Y. -- Imagine having to drive more than half an hour to the closest movie theater, to catch a flick. For town of Thompson residents, they don't have to try very hard, because for the last eight years, that's been their reality. But not for long.

"They settled on a lease with the developer of the movie theater to get it up and running again," said Willam Rieber Jr., town supervisor.

Financial and structural problems caused the theater to close its doors eight years ago.

Rieber announced Tuesday that construction on the abandoned theater in the Thompson mall will begin next week, which is great news for local businesses hoping to get a boost from the new traffic the theater is bound to attract.

Back when the theater was open people would grab a slice from Brother Bruno's restaurant then head to the movies, just two doors down. Now, the restaurant is hoping to make that a reality once again.

"When it did close down we did lost a little bit of a late rush. They used to have two showings the 9 p.m. showing was always great, it would be nice to have that back," said restaurant manager Giovanni Lentini.

The $1 million project will transform the current building, now gutted, into a much bigger theater, complete with six big screens. Rieber touting the recent economic development of Sullivan County, which will see the highly anticipated Montreign Resort casino open within the next couple of years. He says all businesses, large and small, are a vital part of the success of the county.

"The little guys like the movie theater operators and the gas stations and the other businesses that want to go up and generate income and employ people from the are. They're equally as important as the big guys," said Rieber.

And Lentini is finally able to give his customers an answer to the question hes been asked ad nauseum.

"People always asking once a week for eight years now, 'When is the movie theater opening up?' he said.

The new theater is expected to be completed by the Christmas holidays or shortly after.