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Mission Drive-In: The Iconic South Side Icon's New Life

San Antonians knew it as the Mission Drive-In for decades. But the old Mission Drive-In was closed in the early 2000s. When the city bought the property with 2008 bond money, they built the new Mission Library.

“After the library was completed there was additional funds to rehab the marquee itself, and put some public art there and to create a plaza in front of the marquee,” said Sebastian Guajardo of the Department for Culture & Creative Development.

The marquee he referred to is the old Mission Drive-In, and the idea was to save it and in the process create a small South Side cultural corridor. As Guajardo reports, they did so and the Mission re-opened in June.

“We had a wonderful Paletas y Poesia event with our Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. There was family activities in the Plaza and we closed it out with a performance by Bombasta Barrio Band," he said. "We’ve also had Ballet Latino perform there.”

Mission Marquee Plaza will still operate as a place to see movies, but not drive-in movies.

“We have 'Rio 2' on August 9," he said. "On August 23 we’re going to have 'Frozen.' And in September we’ll have 'Spider Man.' And we’ll close out with a PG-13 movie, "Blanca Nieves," which is Snow White, but in Spanish; a modern adaptation of that."

I asked him what it cost to get in.

“Oh, it’s free. Free and open to the public,” Guajardo said.

The Mission Marqee, the Mission Library and the playground all feature public art. Especially of note, according to Guajardo, the benches.

“They have these wonderful plaques, developed by students, in the middle of each bench that talk about the history,” he said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii