AUBURN (CBS13) — Neighbors in Auburn are fighting to keep their beloved theater from being torn down to make way for a Costco parking lot.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward with the project that would tear down the DeWitt Theater.
The theater opened in the 1940s and was built to entertain troops returning from World War II. Neighbors are fighting back to preserve the piece of history.
The old brick building still hosts and lessons and shows nearly every day.
“I’ve never really belonged anywhere in life, and at Music & More, I belong,” one teen said at today’s meeting.
The proposed Costco would be two blocks west of HIghway 49, and is something Supervisor Jim Holmes believes is good for the county.
“We are getting people from Grass Valley, Colfax, Nevada City that are driving through Placer County through Auburn to get to the Costco in Roseville, so I think it’s important to put a Costco location here,” he said.
The terms include Costco paying the county $325,000 a year to lease the land, as well as helping to open a new senior center in north Auburn.
“Costco has been very generous with $535,000 for tenant improvements and long-term lease,” Holmes said.
Neighbors say they don’t mind the Costco, but believe knocking down the Dewitt Theater for 42 parking spaces isn’t a good deal for the region.
“When you are a type of person that likes to sing or do things like that, you just have to have an outlet to do it, and this is the only place that has that,” said supporter Cathie Rollins.
The construction could begin as early as next year. Supporters hope there is still time for a compromise.
The next step for this project is to go before the planning commission. Those who are fighting to save this theater are willing to make some concessions, saying they will even allow the Costco DeWitt name if it means saving the theater.
The rest of the property of the proposed development is made up of open fields, and old military buildings built in the 1930s and 40s.