A New Addition to Marion


Paige Mausey, Staff Writer

A new addition is coming to Southern Illinois for families and friends in the area to enjoy. According to local newspaper, The Southern, the Marion Star Center Mall was purchased by Marion Center Project LLC, a group that is overseen by Black Diamond, after filing for bankruptcy with the previous owners. Plans for the mall include to revamp it with new stores and food services, along with adding an outdoor drive-in theater. 

With very few entertainment options in the area, especially for teens, the drive-in is something new for everyone to try out. With COVID also limiting the number of things to do, a drive-in could also provide a fun and different experience for friends and families of all ages. Several students at CHS are looking forward to the new entertainment option. Maria Williamson, a sophomore, says, “I’m super stoked for the new drive-in movie theater! I think it will be a great space for everyone to have fun and enjoy time with loved ones.” 

Williamson is not the only student that thinks the drive-in will be a great opportunity, Addie Melton, also a sophomore at CHS, agreed stating, “I have never been to a drive-in theater, and my mom was telling me about how fun they are. I’m looking forward to having the same experience my mom had. ” 

The theater is currently almost complete, with the parking spots painted and the screen just being put up a week or so ago. While the mall itself is not to open for quite some time, the drive-in is to open on October 30th with a cost of $30 per vehicle. The owners have plans to do showings of movies, as well as sport events. Unlike many typical drive-in theaters, this one plans to have showings during the day and at night. 

Members in the community are also looking forward to the new attraction. Local Carterville resident, Kerry Glenn, expressed her ideas about the upcoming drive-in. “I think it will provide much needed entertainment during this pandemic. Many young adults have not experienced this like we did growing up. It will be a fun experience for everyone.”

The theater is located in part of the parking lot at the mall. Parking spots are marked for around 500 cars, but the spots for now are limited to 200 to allow social distancing in order to accommodate the mandates in place for COVID. The parking spots are arranged in such a way that there is an optimal view of the screen from every spot. This can allow for an enjoyable and long lasting experience for everyone.