Time's running out for Utah drive-ins
Deseret News, 31 May 2000, page A1
A Utah County developer plans to purchase the 20-acre Pioneer Twin Drive-in and turn it into a commercial development with a grocery store, strip malls, and fast-food restaurants. The Pioneer Drive-in is located along U.S. 89 in the rapidly growing southeast section of Provo.
Developers have made an offer on Springville's Art City Drive-in that hinges only on city approval of a plan to build homes and retail stores there.
"This could very well be the last season for the Art City Drive-in," said owner Wesley Webb.
Webb got into the drive-in business 20 years ago. He bought several drive-ins in Utah and Colorado as a land investment, but after land prices suffered in the 1980s he continued to show movies. Now all his theaters except the one in Fort Collins, Colorado, have been sold.
The Redwood Drive-in is the largest in Utah. It has six screens and shows three movies on each screen most nights.
The state's next largest drive-in is Riverdale's Motor Vu, which has four screens on 23 acres and can accommodate up to 1,200 cars.
Howard Coleman began working at the Motor-Vu drive-in in 1952 as a lot boy. He worked his way up to manager before buying the theater in 1979.
Howard Coleman regularly turns away developers offering large sums of money for his property.
"As soon as they come in, I just say I'm not interested," Howard Coleman said. "We don't entertain any (offers)."
A drive-in south of Moab sits empty while weeds grow in the lot.
Tooele County and small towns like Mt. Pleasant and Roosevelt still manage to support drive-in theaters.