Showtime quickly on the Cascade Drive-in in West Chicago? House owners, metropolis need motion pictures this 12 months

The Cascade Drive-in left outside film followers with a lifetime of recollections.

Throughout these first summer season journeys to the drive-in, a playground was the place to burn off some power earlier than the opening credit rolled and also you hopped onto the hood of the household automobile with a carton of popcorn or a foil-wrapped burger.

Lots of these children grew up solely to mourn the obvious demise of the Cascade till they have been shocked by a plot twist: Final fall, the brand new house owners of the North Avenue landmark teased a return of the shuttered “ozoner.”

The query now’s how for much longer till showtime?

“There’s been a variety of obstacles,” Russ Whitaker, an lawyer for the house owners, stated Tuesday. “I feel we have overcome most of them at this cut-off date, and we sit up for making the mission a actuality.”

The Cascade hasn’t nailed down a date to reopen the gates to the gravel lot, however the metropolis of West Chicago has helped rekindle the custom.

To encourage the theater’s reopening, town council on Monday night time authorized an incentive settlement to rebate an amusement tax to the Cascade for the primary 10 years of its operation.

The town collects an amusement tax equal to 2% of an institution’s gross receipts. That amounted to about $20,000 or much less in earlier years when the Cascade was nonetheless working.



West Chicago additionally will enable the theater to proceed utilizing an present non-public nicely as a water supply. The property house owners had requested town to waive a requirement that the theater faucet into the municipal water system, citing the price of extending 1000’s of toes of latest pipe to the city-owned water fundamental.

“The town is certainly desirous about seeing the theater reopen,” West Chicago Neighborhood Growth Director Tom Dabareiner stated. “And we have performed actually all that we are able to to date to see that that occurs.”

The Cascade pale to black on the finish of the 2018 season. Later that 12 months, the property’s earlier proprietor declined to resume the theater’s lease.

The Cascade’s final curtain name left just one different drive-in nonetheless standing within the Chicago space: the McHenry Out of doors Theater.

It is one of many few well-preserved examples of the golden age of drive-ins. The nationwide anthem nonetheless performs earlier than big-budget blockbusters mild up the display.



Throughout the glory days, the variety of drive-in theaters throughout the nation peaked at greater than 4,000 within the late Nineteen Fifties, in keeping with the United Drive-in Theatre House owners Affiliation. Solely about 300 have been nonetheless in enterprise in 2019, their ranks thinned by actual property improvement and competitors from high-tech multiplexes.

However outside screenings have made a comeback through the COVID-19 pandemic, giving film lovers a socially distant night time out from the cocoon of their vehicles.

“The neighborhood is over-the-top in favor of the Cascade coming again,” West Chicago Alderman Lori Chassee stated in voicing her help for the tax rebate settlement.

After the 2018 season, the 28-acre property was bought to the present possession and held in a land belief. The house owners have not been recognized.

However Whitaker, the lawyer, stated they’re within the means of finalizing building plans and budgets. Additionally they intend to construct a carry station to offer sanitary sewer service to the theater.

The hope continues to be to revive the Cascade sooner or later this 12 months to have fun the sixtieth anniversary of its 1961 opening.

“We nonetheless want some allow approvals from West Chicago so as to authorize the development of some enhancements,” Whitaker stated, “and hopefully we’ll be beneath building within the very close to time period.”


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