COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – The last drive-in movie theater in the metro area may soon be a thing of the past as the owner of the theater in Commerce City is battling the city over traffic problems.
The 88 Drive-In Theatre is located on East 88th Avenue and Rosemary Street. The owner says the city is threatening to take away the business license.
Cars come flooding into the drive-in theater to enjoy a night at the movies. But the problem is so many cars flood in there in such a short time that it clogs up the intersection of 88th and Rosemary and creates what the city calls a traffic and public safety issue.
“It’s been in the same family since 1972,” Jack Vazquez with 88 Drive-In Theatre said.
But now after more than 40 years in business its future is uncertain.
“The staff is kind of scared right now, everyone is kind of afraid for their jobs,” Vazquez said.
But the city says the routine traffic jam is a public safety issue and that many patrons park illegally on the side of the road to watch movies.
“We do the best we can to get everyone in as quickly as possible.”
Adding all the traffic blocks access to and from an area fire station.
The chief of police sent a letter to the theater in July asking them to make changes or face the possibility of losing their business license. But the suggested changes are too expensive for the theater and they’ve started a petition to ask the city to let them operate as is. They say patrons are coming in during rush hour and sometimes traffic just happens.
“I just don’t think it’s fair that we are being blamed for that, especially after 40 years of serving the community.”
The city and the drive-in have been talking about the issue for more than a year. The city says they’re confident they can come to an agreement that’s fair to both sides. It will come to a head Monday evening when the owner of the theater appears before the city council.