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by dan guzewich Staff writer

Davidson Automotive Group will park at the West Rome Drive-In.

"That is going to be our home," said Doug Davidson, general manager of the long-time city dealership that now sells and services Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles. He said the drive-in will finish out its season and then construction will start.

"We’re shooting at May," he said of the anticipated 2012 opening at the new location on Route 69 west.

The dealer announced this spring it was looking for a new home in the city. At that time it was located at 7019 E. Dominick St. It has since moved to temporary quarters in the nearby former Navelli dealership site, 7113 E. Dominick St., while a new location was being lined up and facilities then constructed.

"It’s under discussion," said Conrad Zurich of Zurich Cinema Corp. this morning when asked about a possible sale of the site. Zurich Cinema owns both the drive-in and the nearby movie theaters in Westgate Plaza. He declined to elaborate.

The West Rome Drive-In on the Rome-Taberg Road has been a seasonal treat for local residents for 60 years. The first movie was shown in June 1951. Starting Friday, the schedule switches to nightly showings, instead of just weekends. The season continues through Labor Day, Zurich said.

Davidson said while the movies are being shown on the large two screens this summer at the drive-in, building designs will be worked on so construction can start shortly after the drive-in closes. He hopes the new building is closed in before winter sets in.

"They’re going to finish out the season," he said of the drive-in.

The parcel at 5905 Rome-Taberg Road is assessed at $89,500, according to the city Assessor’s Office.

The building plans are being driven by auto manufacturers’ requirements.

"They’ve got a drive nationally to bring all dealerships up to a level they want for customer convenience," Davidson explained.

Features on the drawing board include an indoor service drive where a customer can drive right into the service department out of the weather to drop off a vehicle for service or repairs.

The dealership has about 40 employees, he said. The Davidson group also has dealership sites in Watertown.

RomeSentinel.com

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