Restoration, resiliency

Oroville State Theatre seeks new sign rooted in history; BofA donates building to town of Paradise

For me, one of the most charming things about any downtown—including Chico’s and Oroville’s—is the history in which it’s steeped. I love walking around and looking up at big, historic buildings, reading the plaques that explain their past and admiring the grand architecture.

Sometimes, sadly, that grandeur gets butchered by time and owners who care more about their singular missions than the cohesive whole. Restoring and maintaining old buildings comes at no small cost, of course. Thankfully there are things like historic registries that open up some funding sources—and prohibit certain modifications.

I mention this because the Oroville State Theatre is undergoing a restoration project that its parent company, the nonprofit State Theatre Arts Guild (STAGE), has dubbed Miracle on Myers Street. It cleared one hurdle last year, with the installation of a Wurlitzer organ. Now, it’s hoping to get the go-ahead from the city Planning Commission to update its marquee.

Turns out, according to the STAGE website, when United Artists bought the place in the 1970s, it tore down the old “State” sign as it “modernized several aspects of the theatre, but with considerable loss to the interior detail and damage to the theatre’s infrastructure.” The guild wants to re-create the sign—similar to those that adorn the Senator and El Rey theaters in Chico (in fact, Timothy Pflueger, who designed the State Theatre, designed the Senator that same year, 1928).

I can’t see any reasons to think STAGE’s bid will be turned down—it’s already gotten the blessing of the state Office of Historic Preservation.

Making space About two years ago, Bank of America chose to close its only branch in Paradise, but as it turns out, the company never did anything with its empty building on the Skyway. Since it didn’t burn in the Camp Fire, now is the time: Last week it was announced that BofA donated it to the town of Paradise. It could clearly use the space, having added a team of building officials to handle the influx of permit applications—so the timing is good.

“The town intends to utilize the building as a Resiliency Permit and Housing Resource Center,” a town press release reads. “After the fire, our new reality requires more public outreach and assistance than ever before as our community digs deep to build back our town.”

Something to cheer for Hype Dance Studio has some exciting news: It’s been chosen to help choreograph routines for the 916 Crew, the Sacramento Kings’ gender-inclusive hip-hop group. The Chico-based studio will be working with Dance Elite All Stars from Rocklin and KAST Academy of the Arts out of Elk Grove for the group’s debut season. Apparently this job is nothing new for Hype owner Sarah Schneeweis, who said in a Kings press release that, “I had the great pleasure of choreographing the Sacramento Kings Dancers for 15 years and this trend toward coed dance teams is exciting.” Agreed—can’t wait to see what they come up with.