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Plans to Demolish 'Dome' Move Ahead, Talks Turn To Commemoration

The Pleasant Hill Architectural Review Commission decided Thursday to approve SyWest development plans. The design will include a memorial to the "dome" theater, which will be demolished and replaced by a sporting goods store.

Members of the Pleasant Hill Architectural Review Commission were faced with one fundamental question at the Thursday meeting: is the "dome" theater worth saving as a historical and cultural icon in the city?

The answer, they decided, is "no."

Plans to demolish the CinéArts theater as part of the redevelopment of the Crossroads Shopping Center were approved, with three members of the commission agreeing to SyWest's project proposal. The fourth — Vice Chair John Hart — dissented. 

"I hate to see the 'dome' go, but I understand the developer's desire here," said Hart, who added that he has been watching movies at the theater since 1972. "I'm going to miss it."

"I've never liked the 'dome'," said Commissioner George Corrigan. "To me, it was always a mid-60s marketing gimmick. It was fun while we had it, but it's not something we should preserve."

Instead, the commission backed the idea of commemorating the "dome" in the development design, such as through a tiled mural on the wall of the new Dick's Sporting Goods building that would depict the domed structure. SyWest's newly submitted plan for dome-shaped arches and trellises was rejected by the commission, and the developers were instructed to explore alternative memorial ideas, which would need to be approved before occupancy.

Ahead of Thursday's public hearing, more than 2,000 public comments were received and included in the staff report. Three speakers also addressed the commission during the meeting in support of keeping the "dome."

A formal appeal to the city's public planning commission closes April 8 in time for the April 9 meeting. Fans of the 'dome' hope that the city can save it from destruction by opting to protect it as a local historical landmark. A consulting firm hired by the city deemed that the "dome" did not meet requirements for preservation as part of the California Register, which mandates that buildings must be more than 50 years old or of "exceptional importance." Pleasant Hill's "dome" is 46 years old.

If development plans move ahead unhindered, Pleasant Hill's "dome" theater will be torn down at the end of this month.

For updates on the fate of the "dome" theater, join Pleasant Hill Patch on Facebook, follow on Twitter and click "keep me posted" below.

Rebecca Mattos April 05, 2013 at 07:45 PM
I hope that the city reconsiders their decision..even down to the commemoration of the theatre, this pays no respect to the local community. The artist that Sywest is hiring to make the mural isn't even from the Bay Area (where there are obviously no shortage of incredible artists), but is an unknown artist they said "lives in the hills" from Sedona, Arizona. Also, there is no real concern for the fact that bringing more guns into our community will mean more violence. There is substantial research from the Harvard School of Public Health showing that "where there are more guns available, there is more homicide." What are we really investing in our community, and our youth...especially with approx. 30 other sporting goods stores currently operating in the immediate area. Film inspires individuals, it helps people relate to one another on a deeper level, to capture the human imagination and potential for growth and need for reflection. Please reconsider, and find a way to renovate the Dome instead of tearing it down.
J.B. April 05, 2013 at 08:39 PM
I have lived in PH for 35 yrs. I shop in other communities because the retail in PH is pathetic. I am a big Dome fan and I will never set foot in Dicks! Like someone else said "Pleasant Hill is a place you go through to get somewhere else"! Sad but true!
Denice Watkins April 05, 2013 at 08:55 PM
It feels as though the sentiments of the citizens of Pleasant Hill are falling on deaf ears where the Dome is concerned. Granted the Dome needs a lot of work but does no one understand that by taking away the only art house focused on independent and foreign films this side of the Caldecott you WILL adversely affect local restaurants and other businesses? People from all demographics come to Pleasant Hill for the DOME movie theater. They will not come for a sporting goods store. Especially considering there are at least 15 large sporting goods stores within a 20 mile radius. Is there no way to make room in 73,000 square feet on 2 looks for an art house movie theater and a sporting goods store?
Denice Watkins April 05, 2013 at 08:57 PM
73,000 square feet on 2 floors...lol
Bob Wang April 06, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Their appears to a lot of delusion here, under CA law, the dome belongs to the property owner and if the Protestors love it that much, they should buy it. Otherwise they should focus their energy of finding a new location for Art Films and stop wasting everyone's time. Also, I was told that their are no local artist that can hand paint a large custom tile mural from a small color drawing and get it right. Rebecca - You should stop bitching about it and send the City the name of a qualified artist, that would of course require a little work on your part and may take time away from your whining. Also, if people don't want to shop at Dick's, that's their right, just remember to exercise it when they open.
Glen Simmons April 06, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Bob, perhaps you are wasting our time. The Save the Dome group is a small grassroots effort who is trying to make the City aware of preserving their past before it is to late. We cannot buy the dome but we can try to make the City force the developer to rethink their proposal. Did you know that the City let their old school house decay instead of preserving their past? Their own Historical Society had a museum in this structure and they let it die rather than preserve their past. It is a complete shame that any City can be so blind to not recognize their own history to preserve it. The Dome is a strong part of their past and present. What other venue can seat 900 people in the City or even the county? What theater has a screen as large? What theater or building in the City can come close to identifying Pleasant Hill? It is pathetic that the developer would even consider a mural or trellis to preserve the memory of the Dome. One speaker at the Planning Commission said that we don't want a tombstone, we want the building. Once it's gone you have another strip center with a sporting store to sell guns instead of a piece of history and culture from Pleasant Hills past.
Rebecca Mattos April 06, 2013 at 12:07 PM
I may be a "whiner" in your eyes, but at least I don't put others down when they voice their opinions. You have no reference point to what my daily schedule or commitments are right now, and if you knew, I'm sure that your disposition towards me might be a bit different.
Darlene Van Meter April 06, 2013 at 12:48 PM
No local artists that can convert a small drawing into a larger mosaic? We did not use tiles but we converted small drawings into large murals at College Park High back in the '70s. It just depends on where the commission went to get bids/submissions for the artwork. How much will the artist be paid? Plenty of folks here in Reno from the Bay Area who are artists, at least there would have been a connection. So, tear down the Domed Theater and the commission will give you dick. Funny.
PH Fan April 06, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Wow...I don't quite feel the same about PH. I happen to really like it, although I won't be going to Dick's either.
Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 05, 2013 at 03:30 AM
The city should place emotions aside (and personal aesthetics as well), realize that becoming gentrified is NOT always the answer but rather, a sad commentary on our societies lack of individualization. The dome has the potential to become a cultural center in the Bay Area where there are so many talented citizens. The residents tax dollars voted the city officials in, now they would be wise to listen to the voice of MANY of the voters in addition to stop chasing the almighty dollar! Should we accept "Dicks Sporting Goods", or yet another chain-store, as symbolic of our current day values? It's not even the building that is significant here but the lack of appreciation for history and individual thinking. Voice your opinion if you want more than a cookie-cutter solution to urban-living.
Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 07, 2013 at 06:17 AM
Right on!
Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 07, 2013 at 06:23 AM
It's not delusional to preserve history! Its dangerously myopic to do otherwise. It's the building thats in danger here AS WELL as an arts-house. What if we applied your perspective to the Roman Ruins, they were only 46 years old once. Imagine DICK SPORTING GOODS STORE in place of Versailles! Yikes, your kind of tunnel-vision is scary.
Solnyshko May 07, 2013 at 06:33 PM
"Should we accept "Dicks Sporting Goods", or yet another chain-store, as symbolic of our current day values? It's not even the building that is significant here but the lack of appreciation for history and individual thinking. Voice your opinion if you want more than a cookie-cutter solution to urban-living."- right on!
Solnyshko May 07, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Bob, you ARE wasting our time. go away.

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