(7/27/04) Construction has yet to
begin on Bumpers Drive-In Theater in northeastern Frederick
County, a project that was approved more than a year ago and
originally slated for a spring 2004 opening.
Project developer and American Family
Entertainment president Alan Ackerman says a
longer-than-expected final approval process with the county
and State Highway Administration is to blame, but that
bar-ring further delays, the theater will break ground this
fall and open next April.
"We're submitting our final draft this
Friday to the county, and they have two weeks to respond,"
said Mr. Ackerman. "We feel that we have adjusted the plans so
many times, there can't be anymore revisions.
Mr. Ackerman spent much of last year
trying to sell nearby residents and Planning Commission
members on the merits of the drive-in, which will be built on
8 1/2 acres at the site of the abandoned Monocacy Drive-In,
which operated from 1952 to 1984.
The proposed theater — located along
Md. 140 near Bridgeport Road in Taneytown — will include two
digital movie screens and parking for 400 cars, as well as new
In June 2003 the Planning Commission
granted conditional approval to the site plans for Bumpers,
despite reservations from several members about the
neighbor-hood impact and concerns. At that time Mr. Ackerman
said the theater would open by April 2004.
At issue with county planners, said
Mr. Ackerman, has been the proximity of the theater's septic
system to the Monocacy River and road improvements to Md. 140.
"It's just taken much longer than I
thought," said the Eldersburg resident. "There's been much
more red tape than we ever expected."
SHA spokesperson Kelly Boulware said
the state made recommendations last year concerning
improvements to Md. 140 — including a new left turn lane on to
Bridge-port Road and shoulder widening — but has not been
involved with the project since.
"We're just serving as a review agency
for the county," she said. "The county will issue the final
Added Ms. Boulware, "Anytime there is
a new commercial property coming in, we determine specific
safety modifications. That's what we did here."
Once the county issues final approval,
Mr. Ackerman said work can begin on the $1.8 million project,
which when complete will be the fourth active drive-in theater
"We're hoping to have all the site
work done before winter, including landscaping, the sewer, all
the facilities and the screen," he said. "That should put us
in good shape to open by April 1."