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Forum Communications, Published September 11 2012

Drive-in theater giving way to Wal-Mart in Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - After 47 seasons, the Cottage View Drive-In will close next month to be replaced by a Wal-Mart Supercenter store atop a portion of the venerable drive-in’s property.

Walmart has agreed to purchase roughly 24 acres of the 52-acre Cottage View property held by drive-in owner Gerry Herringer’s Apache Chief Theater Co. after the Cottage Grove City Council’s approval of Walmart’s building plans. Plans call for a 178,000-square-foot pharmacy, retail and grocery store to be built on East Point Douglas Road near Washington County Highway 19.

City officials have heralded the store’s arrival, saying it will spur retail growth in an important area of the city and increase property tax revenues by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The 5-0 vote on Sept. 5 means a certain end for a south Washington County summertime staple that has stood alongside Highway 61 in south Cottage Grove since it opened to moviegoers with the comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in the summer of 1966.