Eliminating an eye sore

Drive-in theater's curtain call could come in the form of fire

For about 15 years a drive-in movie theater located at the south entrance of Craig has stood as an eye sore that Moffat County commissioners want removed.

The commissioners discussed possible ways to get rid of the drive-in theater, which is owned by Stan Dewsnup, at their meeting Monday.

"The proposals have varied from re-opening to tearing it down," said Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos.

The theater located just outside of the city limits in the county.

The latest idea Commissioner Les Hampton brought up to Roy Mason, fire chief of Craig Fire/Rescue, was the possibility of having a controlled fire burn to destroy the structure.

"We (the fire department) would like to do it, the only problem we have is an electrical issue of a power line that may run close to the site," Mason said. "It is no problem as long as there is agreement and elimination of the (electrical) problem."

Obstacles that stand in the way of the fire project include the fact that the city of Craig has not directly expressed approval and commitment of resources and the property owner has not agreed to the plan.

The last correspondence that the board had with the owner was when he said that he was going to re-open the drive-in in May 2002.

"I drafted a letter and sent it to the county attorney and she said that it could be interpreted as a contract and she is not sure that we have had conversations with the right people," Hampton said.

Some ideas for making the project less expensive to clean up included using those mandated to perform community service.

There also is an issue of precedence in which the city of Craig has taken areas that are a safety hazard, cleaned them up and billed the owners, according to Jim Ferree, city manager for Craig.

But Ferree said he doesn't know how many much money the city of Craig can bring to the table.

"I don't see it as being any more than a three-day job at most," Hampton said.

At this point the county commissioners see it turning into a joint effort, in-kind consideration in which the fire department would use the burn down as a training exercise and the city and county would provide the equipment and manpower.

"It goes back to economic development, establishing a welcoming environment for businesses looking to move to Craig," Hampton

said.

"Every entrance to Craig has some problem. In the future I would like to see each entrance addressed," said Darryl Steele, representative from district 2.

Liz King is an intern with the Craig Daily Press. She can be reached at 824-7031 or lking@craigdailypress.com

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