Local News

May 12, 2010 9:51 PM by Ariel Wesler

City council to spend thousands on movie theater study

Does Atascadero need two ten-screen movie theaters? The Galaxy Theater is due to open toward the end of the year. Last night, the Atascadero City Council voted to postpone its decision... on whether to give the La Plaza movie theater project the green light.

The city is prepared to pay $10,000 to research whether it can support two theaters, just blocks away from each other.

Construction is already underway on the state of the art, ten-screen Galaxy Theaters in Atascadero's Colony Square. Just down the street, the La Plaza theater property sits in limbo, waiting for city council approval.

"I don't think it's obvious. We have two theatre owners. We are not in the theater business. We don't do this for a living," said Atascadero Mayor Roberta Fonzi.

The council wants more information and they're paying a consultan $10,000 to get it, even after losing over a million dollars to the state.

"We're going to have to cut something to pay for this. We don't have discretionary funds, but the city council made the decision that this is important enough information that we will take it from our pocket," Fonzi said.

"It's kind of a waste of money in my opinion. Just look at it realistically," said Randall Olds of Atascadero.

Theaters for downtown will bring our heartback. Our restaurants have suffered," said Joanne Maine, the President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Some resturants say their business is down at least 25 percent since the theater left town.

To give you a comparison, San Luis Obispo has five theatres and 16 screens and if you include Cal Poly, its population is about twice the size of Atascadero.

In all honesty, one is really all we need. We did fine with one last time. Two would just bring more congestion," said Kristopher Smith of Atascadero.

"Atascadero needs more restaurants certainly, more than it needs another theater," Olds said.

Councilmembers have a key decision to make that could help the city grow or create a growing problem.

The Atascadero City Council is scheduled to decide on June 8.


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