The future of the Cottage View Drive-In's classic roadside sign is unknown, but one thing is certain: it has to come down.
The red and white vintage marquee sign with neon lighting along Highway 61 in Cottage Grove needs to be relocated in the coming months to accommodate road construction and construction of a Walmart store on a portion of the now-closed drive-in property.
The drive-in closed last fall after 46 years as the property owner, Gerry Herringer, sold 22 acres of land to Walmart. The discount retailer plans construction of a Supercenter on the site beginning later this year. In conjunction with that development, the city plans to improve a stretch of East Point Douglas Road that passes the drive-in entrance. That road construction requires removal of the drive-in sign.
The sign's removal probably will have to occur by April, city Finance Director Robin Roland told the City Council last week.
Where it's headed is unclear.
Mayor Myron Bailey said Herringer has offered the sign to the city, but there is no formal plan for how it would be used or displayed. Suggestions have included incorporating it into future development near the drive-in site or moving it to another location in Cottage Grove.
"Personally speaking I'd like to see us incorporate that sign somehow from its historical significance to our community," Bailey said of keeping the sign somewhere near the former drive-in site should that surrounding property remain undeveloped.
Other groups and businesses outside Cottage Grove also have expressed interest in the sign.
The sign could be stored by the city temporarily until a permanent use is determined.
"All the options are still out there on the table," Economic Development Director Danette Parr said, adding the intention is to "use it in a creative way that makes sense."