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Local News

Rialto committee delves into marquee changes

JOLIET – The Rialto Marquee Advisory Committee on Wednesday worked on ways to make a new marquee look as much as possible as the old one.

The committee also heard from one of its co-chairs that Landmark Sign Group, the company that has done most of the work on a marquee now in storage, may want out of the project, which was stopped in mid-construction amid public objections to the look of the sign.

The committee, formed to help solve the Rialto Square Theatre marquee problem, did reach an agreement that modern LED lighting is acceptable.

“It appears that everyone sitting up here doesn’t have a problem modernizing to LED panels,” committee member Jeff Hettrick said at one point. “We’ve made our first consensus agreement from the looks of it.”

Committee member Michael Morgan, also a member of the Rialto Belongs to the People group that led opposition to the new marquee, presented a conceptual image of how the existing marquee would look with minimal alterations to accommodate LED panels and changing screen images.

“Our first goal is we need to keep the original look of the theater,” Morgan said later. “I don’t know how we’re going to arrive there yet.”

Morgan’s proposed design was well received, but some members expressed concern about what would be done with the unfinished marquee, which has already cost the Rialto $197,000.

“This looks nice,” said member Michael Turk, also a Joliet city councilman. “But with the existing sign 70 percent done, can that be adapted to this.”

Committee Co-Chair Chris Clott said the cost of modifying the existing Rialto marquee for LED panels would be about $40,000. He also said the total cost of completing the marquee in mid-production and installing it would be $236,000.

Clott, who visited Landmark Sign Group in Indiana and showed photos of the sign in pieces and in storage, said he was told that “surgery” could be done to modify the marquee in mid-production so it looks more like the marquee already in place, but it would be difficult.

“One of their thoughts is to deliver the LED units and be done with it,” Clott said. “They’re just wondering from their standpoint if it’s worth it for them.”

But Dan Vera, a committee member who also is vice chair of the Rialto board, said he was in a recent meeting with a sales representative from Landmark who did not say anything about the company wanting to be done with the project.

“First I heard,” Vera said when asked about Clott’s comment.

The committee discussed making the marquee in mid-construction smaller, toning down its color and even taking panels with the words “Rialto Square Theatre” and placing them in the back of the building instead of on the marquee.

The committee also changed the date of its next and last meeting, previously scheduled for April 1, to April 13.

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