Ready For The Lights

New Marquee To Be Unveiled At Reg In October

From left, Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor; Vince DeJoy, city development director; Kathleen Eads, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts executive director; Gregory Rabb, Jamestown City Council president; and Matt Hanley, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts board president; discussing the new LED screen marquee that will be retrofitted to the current signboard next month. The unveiling of the new marquee is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20, during the street party prior to the Black Violin: Classical Boom Tour performance. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

“There I stand ‘neath the Marquee Moon,” might be what a fan of 1970s new wave music might say next month when they stand below the new LED marquee for the first time at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.

Kathleen Eads, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts executive director, said the unveiling of the new marquee is scheduled to take place during the street party prior to the Black Violin: Classical Boom Tour performance on Friday, Oct. 20.

Matt Hanley, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts board president, said they will retrofit the current signboard with a high-resolution LED screen that wraps both sides of the marquee. He said the LED screen will replace the current “milk glass” billboard area of the marquee, though, the chase/running lights and neon will remain around the screen and under the theater canopy. Len Barry, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts marking and communications director, and Eads said they plan to continue using the “milk glass” from the current marquee inside the theater as part of their donor wall.

Hanley said the new screen will be fully programmable and can be used to display recorded and live video, still images and text. He said it works with multiple devices. He added the screen has a light sensor and will automatically brighten and dim depending on the weather and time of the day.

The specialized LED screen is being custom built by Watchfire Signs of Danville, Ill., Hanley said. He said the cost of the new marquee is $94,960, with $93,931 of the project expense coming from the Reg Lenna Special Projects Fund and $1,029 from Reg Lenna private investment.

The funding from the Reg Lenna Special Projects Fund was administered by the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency until city officials approved the disbursement of the revolving loan fund in May for the new marquee. Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said the special projects fund was an emergency fund being used by Reg officials to help pay for fixing mechanical issues and problems around the theater. He said the loan fund stems from proceeds from two Downtown Challenge Grants that were originally made to city officials during the 1990s by the Gebbie and Sheldon foundations.

Teresi said when there was a $3.5 million fundraising campaign to renovate the former Palace Theatre in the 1980s, the Cummins Foundation didn’t just want to give money to the renovation campaign, but also wanted their donation to have a lasting impact throughout the downtown area. He said the Cummins Foundation donated $100,000 for the creation of the Civic Center Development Master Plan, which was meant to not only improve the theater, but the buildings and blocks around the arts complex.

From the creation of the master plan, Teresi said city officials struck a deal with John Hamilton of the Gebbie Foundation and Paul Sullivan of the Sheldon Foundation for both foundations to grant $500,000 for downtown development projects. Teresi said this was significant because it was the first time both foundations had granted money toward development projects. He said prior to this both foundations granted money toward improving educational opportunities for local students.

Teresi said one of the projects as part of the Civic Center Development Master Plan was to create a two-screen movie theater and restaurant at the current location of Spectrum Cable along East Second Street. He said Paul Schmidt was going to develop the movie theater while Vince DeJoy, current city development director, was going to open a restaurant. The mayor said ultimately the plan got scrapped at the East Second Street location, but the initial planning did lead to DeJoy opening a restaurant along East Third Street next to the Reg, which today is known as Forte.

Teresi said eventually Time Warner Cable, the former name of Spectrum Cable, purchased the building on East Second Street, with profits from the sale going to create the revolving emergency loan fund for the Reg.

“That is how an investment from 25 years ago is still having an impact today,” Teresi said.