The Anniston City Council voted unanimously during its regular meeting Tuesday to remove the signage.
City Manager Don Hoyt said the marquee is considered by some to be an eyesore and by others to be a historic staple of downtown Anniston. The marquee will be removed in one piece and stored at the Anniston Army Depot to ensure it can be preserved.
“The old Calhoun Theater is probably the second-worst eye sore in the county, the first being the water works tower,” Mayor Gene Robinson said, referring to the water board’s 10-story building downtown. “As far as the safety issue and the aesthetics, it’s just time to remove (the marquee).”
City officials first began noticing pieces of the marquee were falling from the building in November and blocked public access beneath it, Public Works Director Robert Dean said. After conducting inspections with other city officials, Dean brought the issue before the local historical society and Hoyt.
Together they determined the marquee should be removed and stored for safe keeping.
“We’re acting now to take preventive measures,” Dean said. “It wasn’t an immediate danger. It’s not like it was getting ready to fall down.”
Hoyt introduced the item for consideration in the work session prior to the council meeting. He described the marquee’s deteriorating condition.
The council agreed to pay the local contracting company EMTEK $4,000 to remove the marquee in once piece.
City Planner Toby Bennington said if the city were to restore the property to its original state it would require grant funding, which is not at hand. Bennington said removing the marquee as a whole and storing it at the depot would ensure the building could be restored to its original appearance, though city officials have no immediate plans to do so.
In other council action:
--The mayor discussed rules of order and parliamentary procedures during the pre-council meeting and asked members “to address the chair and ask for the floor” before speaking.
Robinson’s comments garnered a response from Councilman Ben Little who said no formal address was needed after an issue had already been opened for discussion.
--Authorized the city to reimburse city officials for traveling expenses.
--Authorized the mayor to make a grant application to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for money to improve public safety.
--Approved an off-premises beer and table wine license for Yousef Yaqoub, owner of Express mart 25, on Wilmer Avenue.
--Tabled a motion to approve the sale of on off premise beer and table wine for Bobby Lee Colbert Jr., of Xavier’s Event Center on South Quintard Avenue.
The next regular meeting of the Anniston City Council is at 3 p.m., Feb. 23 at Anniston City Hall.