ST. JOSEPH — Movies in the Park is coming back to St. Joseph starting in July, but the format may be different than in previous years.

City staff has been working with TPC Technologies of Niles to allow a drive-in movie setting in response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The St. Joseph City Commission on Monday approved an agreement with TPC to provide services for the 2020 Movies in the Park, for a fee of $12,000.

Greg Grothous, deputy director of parks and grounds, said TPC has recently purchased a large LED screen that will allow for a drive-in format. Depending on the state of the state executive orders and public health recommendations, the city is likely to begin Movies in the Park using the drive-in format and possibly transition to the original format later. In the traditional format, movie-goers sit on lawn chairs or blankets.

The first movie, “Pets 2,” is scheduled to be shown July 11 beginning at 8:30 p.m.

The locations for the movies, which are free to the public, will be announced later, Grothous said.

The rest of the planned lineup is:

July 18: “Abominable”

July 25: “The Sandlot”

Aug. 1: “Frozen 2”

Aug. 8: “The Lion King” (2019)

Aug. 15: “Toy Story 4”

Aug. 22: “The Greatest Showman”

Aug. 29: “Hook” (1991).

Grothous said that because the city is limited on large parking lots to set up in, some of the movies might be shown in locations other than a park.

He said the bottom of the screen will be 10 feet off the ground and the top of the screen 20 feet in the air, allowing for clear sight lines for all types of vehicles. TPC will provide an FM signal so moviegoers can listen while inside their vehicles.

City staff will assist with parking, making sure that one parking space is left between each vehicle so families can get out and “tailgate” while watching the movies, Grothous said.

Youth summer programs

In updates on other summer programs, City Manager John Hodgson said the Whirlpool Compass Fountain will open in early July, but will start out as a splash pad only, without operation of the large water cannons. He said staff is preparing the fountain and he expects it will open the week of July 6.

Also, the St. Joseph Baseball Association and North Lincoln Baseball & Softball Association leagues, held in cooperation with St. Joseph Township, will not have a spring/summer season but hope to operate a late summer/fall league.

The summer tennis program, held in partnership with South Shore Tennis and Racquet Club, will begin the week of July 6, running Monday through Thursday at St. Joseph High School tennis courts. There are programs for children ages 4 through 18. Register at

The summer recreation program will not take place this year. The YMCA, which has operated the program for years, will focus on child care as parents return to work, Hodgson said.

Contact:, 932-0359, Twitter @HPSwidwa