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Continued: Will Cottage Grove drive-in memories fade to black?

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 21, 2007 - 9:43 PM

He said that he's been trying for several years to sell the 94-acre drive-in, which Mann Theatres Inc. now leases.

Further economic development is crucial because Cottage Grove loses too many shopping dollars to nearby Woodbury, said Ryan Schroeder, executive director of the city's Economic Development Authority. He said that the 4,000-acre East Ravine district -- which includes the Cottage View land -- is the last significant parcel of commercial land available near Hwy. 61.

Cottage Grove has no traditional downtown -- and no other movie theater besides the Cottage View.

Barb Stofferahn, who with her family has managed the Cottage View since 1973, said the 850-car drive-in filled up several times this summer because people assumed it would close for good when the season ends in October.

"The land is too valuable to put a movie theater on it," said Stofferahn, who started working in the ticket office when she was 16.

While the wooded entrance to the Cottage View looks rural and summons feelings of nostalgia, the view from where cars park for movies is much different. New houses rim a bare hillside behind the big screen, suggesting the march of time.

PariPassu presented its Cottage View Plaza concept during a brief informational session with the City Council a few weeks ago, said Shiely, who said she has pushed for more retail development in the past but hasn't taken a position on this proposal. PariPassu holds an option to buy the land, meaning that the company paid a fee to exclusively explore development potential, Herringer said, but he declined to say whether the Cottage View would open next spring if PariPassu decides not to build.

However, he said he understands why people worry about the loss of drive-in theaters: "They can harken back in our thoughts to a simpler time when we were all much younger, bring a jug of Kool-Aid, pop your own corn, let the kids run around and play on the swing set."

And watch an outdoor movie on a starlit Minnesota night.

Kevin Giles • 651-298-1554

Kevin Giles • kgiles@startribune.com

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