Sept. 07, 2013, 2:00 pm
By Dennis Yohnka
A forgotten blueprint became the inspiration for the new curb appeal, now showing at Classic Cinemas' Meadowview Theatre in the complex now known as The Shoppes at Meadowview.
The three-screen facility was opened July 15, 1967, with an uninspired "front yard," filled with concrete. The brick facade was broken up only by the powder blue mansard roof features.
"Then, the president of Classic Cinemas Willis Johnson came across the original plans for this building," Meadowview manager Jason Arcand said. "He saw that there was supposed to be trees and flower beds ... and we started the renovations in May."
All of the existing concrete was removed — in stages, to allow the theater to remain open — and the planting beds were installed as first envisioned. Of course, some concrete was replaced as the new curbs and handicapped access ramp was redone.
A mix of trees, perennial and annual flowers were planted and have been redone since after hot weather wilted the original plants.
Meanwhile, painters were called in to transform the tired blue roof features to a more vibrant red.
"I think we're all taking a little more pride in the building these days," Arcand said. "It's become part of the routine now to sweep up in front — and get wrappers and weeds out of the new flower beds."
Inside, the theater still is trying to strike a customer-friendly mix of movie offerings.
"It's our goal to always have something for the kids, something that makes you think and something with some high-energy action." he said. "But it all depends on what the studios are turning out."
Arcand, who came from Joliet to take over as theater manager in October 2012, noted that his personal favorite and maybe one of the biggest box office hits of the year has been "Monsters University."
This weekend's offerings included the science fiction thriller "Elysium," a car chase action flick "Getaway" and the British comedy "At World's End."
Classic Cinemas operates 13 Chicago-area theaters, including the Paramount in downtown Kankakee. Most facilities are older historic buildings, updated with multiple screens and contemporary projection and sound equipment.
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