New look in starring role at Capitol

Published Jan 18, 2018 at 4:10pm

There will soon be a new, old look for one of Rome’s iconic structures — and an anchor in the city’s plans for its downtown revitalization.

The Capitol Theatre complex on the 200 block of West Dominick Street is getting a significant makeover.

There’s a blue tarp on the front of the cinema section of the complex where a new facade is being installed, noted Executive Director Art Pierce, and there are plans in the works to replicate the towering vertical sign that once adorned the theater — a lighted marker that will stretch above the building and be seen from blocks away.

The Capitol is taking part in the city’s facade program and has hired Golden Hammer Construction of Deerfield to redo the stucco, cover windows and install eight lighted display cases for events at the Cinema Capitol. The project will cost about $57,000, of which $7,500 will be paid by the Capitol.

The project, which also includes signage and relocation of the entrance, is expected to be finished around the end of February, Pierce said.

At a meeting of the Local Planning Committee for the city’s $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, Pierce, a member of the committee, discussed the plan to bring back an iconic part of the theater in 1928, a huge vertical sign as part of the marquee.

The 42-foot-tall sign was not initially part of the theater’s proposed portion of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, he said, but remodeling the facility’s exterior has always been a goal.

“The marquee has always been a part of the plan,” and now that includes the vertical sign. The theater’s leadership has been debating a look that reflects 1928 or 1939, and the older style was chosen. That look included the vertical sign, he noted.

He said the vertical sign will extend from just above the marquee to slightly above the building, with a waterfall effect and “Capitol” lettering with lighting.

It will be, Pierce said, “The thing that will make the Capitol noticed, not just from the area but from even Route 49,” as the road enters the city and links up with Black River and Erie boulevards.

The entire marquee and vertical sign will cost about $800,000, Pierce said. It’s hard to tell when the work might begin, since the specifics of how the grant would be spent are still not submitted to the state for final approval, he noted. However, once funding is available, the project will likely take about eight to 10 months from approval to completion.