WILLISTON, N.D. - A petition to bring back Williston’s Lake Park drive-in movie theater has a lot of support from residents; something its creator did not expect. The bad news is that it’s not likely to come back.
The growth of the city caused a lot of problems for North Dakota’s last drive-in. It closed down about eight years ago due to increased noise from the highway, light-pollution and the costs of running the place.
Ryan Agnes, owner of T&J Movie theater, says his parents owned the drive-in, and costs would be a lot more expensive now due to the high prices of land and increased costs of running a drive-in with digital projectors. That didn’t stop petition-signers from showing their support to bring back something many have fond memories of.
Afton Elletson is a high school senior, and created the petition: “I definitely didn’t think it would get this far and I didn’t think it would be such a big thing. I started it out of curiosity. When I first looked at it, there were almost 100 signatures, and then 30 minutes later my mom sent me something, and there were over 300 signatures.”
Now there are more than 3,200, and although a petition is not going to bring the drive-in back, Elletson says the amount of people who support it should encourage entrepreneurs to bring something to the area that caters to high-schoolers and families. Some have even suggested that she start a petition to bring back an outdoor pool and present it to the City of Williston.