Starlite fans rally to save iconic drive-in theatre
Monday offered a faint glimpse of hope for Wichita’s recently shuttered drive-in theater.
McCurdy Auction announced Monday morning it is postponing a liquidation auction to sell off nearly all of the pieces of the Starlite Drive-In, 3900 S. Hydraulic.
A rescheduled date has not been set.
In a statement, the auction company said “the McCurdy team shares the community sentiments that it is unfortunate to see another Wichita business close after being a longtime attraction for family entertainment in Wichita.”
Megan McCurdy Niedens, COO and auctioneer of McCurdy Auction, continued: “At this time we have agreed with the owner to postpone the auction, allowing for time and consideration regarding the future of Starlite.”
The owner of the Starlite Drive-In, Chuck Bucinski, permanently closed the drive-in on Oct. 13. Bucinski has apparently already sold the drive-in land at 3900 S. Hydraulic, which is now worth much more than the business itself.
He had previously rejected a cash offer of $750,000 from a New York-based drive-in theater owner that would have kept the business alive.
Greg Kite, president of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County, had offered to front the costs of McCurdy Auction canceling the scheduled auction if Bucinski changed his mind.
The move by Bucinski and McCurdy to postpone the auction comes as a “Save the Starlite” movement continues to gain steam in town.
Last weekend, a group of passionate fans rallied in Chapin Park in an attempt to show community support for the theater.
On Friday, the City of Wichita joined the fight to save the drive-in, pleading with Bucinski in a written statement to reconsider the sale and come to the negotiating table.
When he notified his employees about the closure of the drive-in, Bucinski cited flagging attendance and higher maintenance costs.