Paramount Marquee Returns to Downtown Cedar Rapids

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A big, glowing sign of flood recovery is going up in Downtown Cedar Rapids Monday.

Crews will bring in a crane to hoist the well-known Paramount Theatre marquee back to its original location above the front entrance of the building on 3rd Avenue. That's where it has been sitting for decades.

Nesper Sign of Cedar Rapids added the finishing touches to the sign last week, but it has been undergoing renovations since April when workers removed it from the flood-damaged building.
The sign will have some new technology including LED lights and an electronic messaging board, much like the one on Theatre Cedar Rapids.

"I think once the community sees this light up and the new technology that's in it, I think it will bring some light and vitality back to that corner that's kind of been dark on that street for some time," said Nesper Sign's Phil Garland.

Despite the changes, the marquee will still have the original color and flair. Many of the old pieces are still intact and overall the sign will look much like it always did. Many have been waiting months to see the fixed-up marquee go back up.

"I know we've been asked questions from the city of Cedar Rapids, the mayor's level, when is this thing going up? So there's a lot of people looking forward to this to happen and as it happens it just continues to bring that revitalization downtown," said Nesper Sign's Pat McAllister.

The crew that fixed up the old sign is very familiar with it.

"Nesper first manufactured this [marquee] back in the 20s and was redone in '85, so most of the core stuff that was there remains. But we had to do new facing, painting, all new lamping, electrical and sockets that need to be replaced," McAllister said.

The installation of the marquee is set to take about two days. The Paramount is slated to re-open during the first weekend in November.
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