Theater hopes to refurbish landmark marquee in time for city’s 125th birthday

Theater hopes to refurbish landmark marquee in time for city’s 125th birthday
Poinsettia Center for the Arts volunteer Bill Ims is determined to help raise $100,000 to refurbish the Star Theatre’s landmark marquee in time for city’s 125 th birthday celebration in July. More than $47,000 has already been raised. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Volunteer Bill Ims is determined to help raise $100,000 to refurbish the historical Star Theatre’s landmark marquee in time for the city’s 125th birthday celebration in July. 

“I’m committed to getting this done,” Ims said. “The Star sign is the first impression many people get of the city.”

Ims said the 1956 neon sign that lights up a column of colorful stars needs a complete overhaul of its metal structure and electrical wiring.

Ims is a volunteer for the Poinsettia Center for the Arts, which runs the Star Theatre. The nonprofit theater group has already raised $47,000 towards refurbishing the marquee.

Ims requested a $60,000 loan to cover the rest of the refurbishment costs from City Council on May 1, but was turned down.

Some council members said granting the request would open a Pandora’s box for other nonprofit groups that might also want a loan from the city.

Ims said the request seemed like a good fit.

“It’s extremely beneficial to the city,” Ims said. “The arts draw visitors and the theater helps many youth.”

Ims said he is still positive that funds can be raised by July. He added that since his request to City Council failed, donors have contacted him to offer assistance. Ims did not share a dollar amount promised by donors, but did say he is following up.

A further fundraising effort is upcoming with a karaoke night at the theater that they’re hopeful will raise an estimated $5,000 to refurbishing the marquee.

The karaoke contest is slated for early summer and will allow contestants to compete before a large audience over a high quality sound system.

Prizes will include a professional recording session.

Ims added other efforts are underway. He said refurbishing the historical marquee is one of several projects he would like to see completed in the downtown theater arts district.

“My focus right now is on the marquee, but I’m interest in the entire area,” Ims said.

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