Have you heard the news?
The State Theater marquee is going to remain in Downtown Alpena– not only will the marquee keep its iconic “State” lettering, it will also receive some upgrades to make it fully functional again.
A few months ago, it was announced that AMC, the corporate movie company that owns the building, was planning to re-brand the theater, and that part of that re-branding process would include removing the “State” lettering that runs on the top of the marquee.
Even though the marquee is not original to the building and was part of an extensive 1950’s renovation, the announcement created a bit of community outcry and discussion, ranging from an online petition to AMC to keep the marquee the way it is, to commentary about some of Alpena’s other lost historic treasures, to discussion about how local government can or cannot control what happens to historic properties under private ownership.
Since then, AMC staff on both a local and corporate level have worked to keep the marquee entirely up and renovated, including the State lettering. Over the next few weeks, Omega Electric will be working to ensure the marquee is up to code and functional again– which includes upgrading the letters from neon and repairs to the marquee’s 811 bulbs.
Executive Director of the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan Christine Witulski recognizes the benefit that valuing our community’s history has, not just for the community itself, but the positive message it can send for a business.
“Alpena citizens are passionate about their heritage and are extremely supportive of the local businesses who are working to maintain the historic charm of the city,” she wrote to AMC in April.
Similarly, Stephanie Gandulla, who helped organize community support around the issue commented: “I was thrilled to hear that AMC recognizes what this means for our downtown. And I’m proud to be a part of the community that rallied and stands up for what they value.”
Work will begin on the marquee over the next few weeks. Letters may be temporarily taken down to remove the neon, but they will be re-affixed once they are renovated.
Blog Downtown Alpena is written by Anne Gentry. Follow the blog on facebook and instagram @blogdowntownalpena for the latest downtown news.