“We are appalled by their action,” said Don Gawel, the Drive-Ins current operator. “The sign hasn’t moved in the past 58 years and all of a sudden they want it removed. It makes no sense. Many municipalities work with their drive-ins to help keep them open, Portage is the exact opposite.”
“A grassroots movement has begun to save the sign,” said theatre manager Dustin Grush, “I have been getting a lot of comments about it.” The Drive-In website has been updated to address the issue. It states the Drive-In will be forced to close due to lack of business if the sign were removed. “The ticket booth is located off of the main road, making it difficult to find without a lighted sign,” Grush stated. A petition on www.change.org has gained more than 2500 supporters in its first three days.
Gawel states that the Drive-In is currently in the process of renewing their lease and upgrading to a new state-of-the-art digital projector. “Everything is on hold until this issue is resolved,” Gawel said. “I’m not going to invest $80,000 into a community that doesn’t want us.” More than 22,000 patrons visit the Drive-In annually, all using this roadway without incident.
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