Tracing consequences both seen and unseen.
Sarah BrodskySubsidizing a Dinosaur
Posted at 9:00 am on June 22, 2010, by Sarah Brodsky

Most drive-in movie theaters closed decades ago. This Illinois theater has been around since 1949; it recently was on the brink of shutting down, but the recession drove more families to patronize cheap, old-fashioned entertainment venues and it got a reprieve. Now city taxpayers will help the theater expand. From the Post-Dispatch article:

On Monday night, the council unanimously agreed to split the estimated cost to demolish a nearby abandoned movie theater to make more room for the Skyview.

In return, the Skyview’s owner will take over the property and expand to include a third screen and commit to remain at the site for 10 years.

I love that last provision. The theater has been there since 1949. It’s good at hanging on when everybody else leaves the industry. Is it really doing city residents a favor by promising to stick around a bit longer? Such a promise would make more sense when dealing with a business that could be lured away by other municipalities, but it’s doubtful that will happen in this case. After all, we’re talking about a drive-in theater, not a baseball team.

Ever persistent, the theater continues to seek subsidies. It needs to repair its sign, and it’s hoping for an historic preservation grant from the federal government.

Filed under: Local Government
Comments: 1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Apparently, in some circles “too big to fail” is now being replaced with “too old to fail.”

    Comment by wirkman — 2010-06-25 @ 12:56 am

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Henry Hazlitt"[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson






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