Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Save the Cottage View Drive-In

And then there was one. The Cottage View, one of the metro's two remaining drive-in theaters, might soon be replaced with a Walmart. Or a strip mall. You get the idea. A few people (over 7200 actually) think that's a terrible idea. So, a Facebook group was created. "If we can get Betty White on SNL - we can save this place!"

The comments in the discussion section reveal some of the problems that the theater is facing: Mann Theaters , who own the drive-in, are not interested in investing money in additional renovations. The place is "run off of well water which is contaminated and not drinkable". And probably the biggest problem of all: "modest profits that drive-in theaters earn can't compensate for rising property taxes on what has become prime suburban land."

So, how can they make money? A surprising number of people have chimed in with their ideas and suggestions. In a Facebook poll, 97% voters say they would you pay an additional $1 on admission if they knew it might help. Other suggestions include adding VIP seating, event "rooms", a stage for outdoor concerts, organizing theme nights, corporate events , etc, etc. Do you think Mann Theaters executives are reading this? We sure hope so. Hopefully they steal some ideas and put them to good use!

Submitted by @marrina.


  1. Like we need more Walmarts!!!

  2. I would gladly pay $3 extra dollars to help save Cottage View Drive in. Please don't shut it down.

  3. We need to save it

  4. I LOVE this drive-in!! I don't want to see it go either. But, ya know, it probably doesn't matter what anyone does, or how much we pay or even if some millionaire donated a few million to fix it up. Mann theaters probably aren't interestd in fixing it up, they'd make more money of selling the land for a Wlmart or something. GREEDY corporate world!!!!

  5. Of the 8000 people on facebook who like this post, one must have a contact with Mann's find out what they would sell it for and create (if one isn't already there) and fund a community foundation for the Cottage Grove Area. If there are endowments made the cash could be there to not only run, but renovate the place. Mann's is only interested in profitability, if the price is right, they would sell to Wall Mart, the City, or a Foundation.

  6. This is a perfect example of something that is not acknowleged til it's threaten to be gone. This is a wake up call for me to get out and enjoy this very unique experience before it is extinct.
    I do believe many of us would pay a "surcharge" or a "tax" to save this species of movie going. I like the idea of creating additional uses of the drive-in such as, giving the project to the Cottage Grove High School business organization to submit plans to increase revenue for the space.
    -stage for outdoor community concerts,community theater, children's summer programs
    -use the concession area for birthday parties- add a some outdoor umbrellas and it could be a fun atmosphere that people would drive miles to.
    Perhaps the large corporate businesses in Cottage Grove could see the benefit in supporting this unique icon. Not only could this new life for the Cottage View bring revenue to the area, I believe that people would honor that kind of support.
    My first movie at the drive in was LOVE BUG,for my 9th birthday,with my family.

  7. we're almost over 12,000 members.

  8. I don't believe Mann actually owns the land. I think it is something like Heridges who built it and still owns it.

    I'm guessing Mann will continue to run it as long as it makes them money. They lease it yearly.

    I wouldn't worry about Wal-mart developing it. It doesn't have great highway access, probably not enough space either and the elevation would require a lot of work to develop it.

    Look at the Target - Cottage Grove is known as a dead spot for retail and if you notice Target and the other retailers really aren't spending money on their stores in that part of Cottage Grove.