PLEASANT HILL -- The once dramatic saga of the domed movie theater ended with a whimper this week when the developer unveiled the plan to commemorate the former landmark.
Although opponents of razing the iconic theater packed the council chamber last year for a series of contentious hearings, only five people showed up at Thursday's Architectural Review Commission meeting.
Despite a last-minute campaign to save the beloved 46-year-old theater, SyWest Development demolished it in May to build a two-story Dick's Sporting Goods store.
The commissioners approved the company's plan to install a tile mural of the movie house, a bronze plaque and eight colored concrete pavers stamped with a drawing of the theater's iconic geodesic-dome roof.
"I think it's time we move on and we support the commemoration of the dome," said Paul Nilsen, whose son helped draft the inscription on the plaque.
The 3.5-foot-by-4-foot mural will adorn a wall on the Buskirk Avenue side of the building. The bronze plaque will be installed on a wall bordering the pedestrian breezeway between the Dick's and the Marshalls that leads to the Dollar Tree store. The concrete pavers will line the sidewalk along the front and back entrances to the new store.
Dick's Sporting Goods opens in May, and SyWest recently signed a lease with a national shoe retailer to fill the 21,788-square-foot building that once housed the Bally Total Fitness Gym.
Since 1967, the five-screen movie theater, formally ¿known as CineArts at Pleasant Hill and referred to locally as "the dome," loomed over the center. The Pleasant Hill Soroptimists sponsored the opening night festivities for the theater during which 900 guests sipped sparkling wine and watched the epic romance "Doctor Zhivago," according to the historical booklet commemorating the city's 25th anniversary.
While the Hollywood blockbusters played at the Century 16 Downtown theater on the opposite side of Interstate 680, the dome was the place to see independent and foreign films. The final showing was on April 21, 2013, and SyWest tore down the theater about two weeks later.
The commissioners briefly discussed whether SyWest's plan is adequate.
"It was a landmark-slash-icon in Pleasant Hill for almost 50 years and I'd hate to not give it its due," said John Hart, committee chairman. "Are we doing all we can is my question."
But the two other commissioners appreciated the variety of the commemorative features.
"I like the idea that it's not just a bronze plaque, there's more going on and that makes it more interesting," Richard Stanton said.
Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.