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A Wal-Mart Might Replace 46-Year-Old Drive-In Theatre

COTTAGE VIEW (WCCO) -- One of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the Twin Cities might go dark.

The Cottage View has been a landmark for decades in Cottage Grove, but now a Super Wal-Mart could go up in its place.

"I just don't like the fact that they are going to get rid of the drive-in," said resident Doug Holtzkamp.

There's no shortage of opinion when it comes to whether the drive in should stay or go. There's even a Facebook page, called "Save the Cottage View Drive-In."

"I think it's a bad idea," said Holtzkamp. "I like the drive-in and having access, so your family can go there on the weekend and spend some time with your family. We already got a Wal-Mart in Woodbury."

The theater has been showing movies since 1966. Owner Gerry Herringer said "he's also sad to see it go," but that it's just a sign of the times.

"Wal-Mart coming is fine, in my opinion" said resident Brian Schmidt.

Back in the 1960s, there were about 21 drive-in theaters in the metro. Today, there are only two: Cottage View and Vali-Hi, in Lake Elmo. Soon, there could be only one.

The theater is on about 51 acres. The proposed Wal-Mart would take up about half of that.

"A box or a retail center of some sort is an appropriate use under the guiding that currently exists," said City Administrator Ryan Schroeder.

However, the city would have to change the zone.

"It's currently a residential zone, but as you know, it has a commercial use on the property now," said Schroerder.

Even if the Wal-Mart isn't built, the theater's future looks bleak. Most theaters are going digital.
That would be a $70,000 upgrade for Cottage View, which is a cost its owner said he can't afford.

The theater will continue to show movies this year. But if the Wal-Mart store gets the thumbs up, construction could begin this fall.

i>Sonya Goins, Producer
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