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Posted: 9:54 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. —
Dozens of people went to Pleasant Hill's CineArts Theater on Saturday afternoon, but not for the latest suspense movie. A group is trying to save the theater itself because a plan is underway to turn it into a Dick's Sporting Goods. "There's a lot of potential for this to be an important historical and cultural resource for the area," said Walnut Creek resident Martha Ross. The theater, with its signature dome opened in 1967, and many people have fond memories of the first movie they saw here. "As my reward for finally making it through a week of preschool, my older siblings brought me to see 'The Sound of Music,'" Ross said. "We wish they'd show even bigger and better films in the dome, or turn it into an IMAX theater," said Matthew O'Connor. Now it shows mostly artsy or foreign films. But the theater's demise may be sealed because the developer has a demolition permit and the city is ready for the increase in tax revenue. Some trees behind the building have already been cut down. "They're perfectly entitled to demolish the buildings that exist there, and what they're planning right now falls well within the commercial retail zoning," said Martin Nelis, Pleasant Hill spokesman. Dick's Sporting Goods is expected to open in 10 months, so without an unexpected twist to this story, the end for the dome theater is near. The last day this box office will be open is April 21.
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