Harvey Taylor, left, laborer for H&R Sprinkler, assists Roy Reitenbaugh, owner of H&R Sprinkler, center, and Harley Spray, laborer, with nailing tin to the roof of a new drive-in theater concessions building near Hermosa.

Tim Appel/Rapid City Journal


The developer of a drive-in movie theater just north of Hermosa is forging ahead with construction despite lingering permitting issues with Custer County.

Roy Reitenbaugh hopes to open Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive the week of July 1. The manager of the Hot Springs movie theater and owner of H&R Sprinkler in Hot Springs, Reitenbaugh envisions families lining up at dusk on summer nights for double features, children already in their pajamas.

He said he would be opening sooner if it weren’t for permitting delays with the county.

“If it ain’t one thing, it’s another,” he said.

But Custer County planning director David Green said he has been communicating with Reitenbaugh about what the project needs while holding Reitenbaugh to the same standards as anyone else.

“We knew this would be a complicated project,” he said. “Throughout this whole process we have given them advice on avenues to pursue. We’re not against the project at all, but everybody has to go through the same permitting as anybody else does.”

The main building is nearly finished. It will have bathrooms, a concessions kitchen, and office and storage space. Two small projection-room structures are also up on the north and south sides of the property.

But the theater can’t open until it has a wastewater system. Reitenbaugh plans to install two 3,000-gallon septic tanks on the property. He would need approval from the state Department of Natural Resources, he and Green both said. Green said depending on where on the property the tanks are installed, Reitenbaugh may need a flood plain waiver.

“If they approve it, we’ll permit it,” Green said.

An alternative would be to wait until the town of Hermosa installs new sewer line to the property. The pipes for the project are piled up down the highway. Town board member Matt Ramsey, who owns the nearby Foothills Trading Post, said construction will start within weeks.

But that’s not soon enough for Reitenbaugh, who hopes to be permitted for the septic system.

If that happens, Reitenbaugh plans to open showing two movies a night on each screen. The theater will accommodate 600 cars, 300 per screen, and viewers will be able to tune in for sound on their FM dials. Ticket price will be $8 per adult. Reitenbaugh plans to sell popcorn, pizza, hot sandwiches, nachos, candy and fountain pop.

Ramsey said he envisions even more businesses coming in once the line is installed.

“We think we’ve got a real nice spot for some commercial development,” he said.


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