Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
May 17, 2010 Monday
Group: ‘Save Cinedome 70′: Larry H. Miller Group wants to build car dealership on site
By Jessica Miller, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah
May 17–OGDEN — Allen Glines wasn’t born when the Cinedome 70 opened in 1970, and he was only 14 when the theater stopped showing films.
But that’s not stopping him from trying to save the old theater from being demolished and turned into a car dealership by the Larry H. Miller Group.
Glines created a group on Facebook last week called "Save Cinedome 70," encouraging members to attend city council meetings, write letters and work to keep Riverdale’s movie theater intact.
He remembers a movie he saw at the theater 13 years ago.
"I was about 10," he said. "It was a good memory for me. If people go to the group (on Facebook), a lot of people have similar memories."
The group had grown by Friday to more than 2,400 people who said they don’t want the Cinedome torn down and don’t want a dealership built."That’s the last thing Riverdale needs right now," said Layton resident Amber Clarke, a member of the group.
"It would be much better served in the community as a place for art and culture, rather than just another car lot."
Glines said Riverdale already has an abundance of car dealerships, but what it is lacking is uniqueness.
"I think putting a dealership here would be directly going against the wishes of the people," he said.
"Nobody wants a dealership here. There’s 13 dealerships on Riverdale Road already. The city has no personality whatsoever. To tear down the only building that does have personality? That’s wrong. "The Miller Group announced in March that it is putting a new dealership at the closed theater at 1481 W. Riverdale Road.
In January, the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealership moved into the former Saturn of Riverdale building at 5212 Freeway Park Drive.
In March, Jay Francis, executive vice president of operations, said business was going so well that an expansion was planned and projected to be finished by mid-2011.
Francis said Friday that the company had received a few e-mails the day before from disgruntled community members who don’t want to see the theater go down.
"My understanding is there is no way to save the building," he said. "There’s some issues with safety and it’s not been functional since 2001 or 2002, so there are some safety issues with the building itself."
He said the Miller Group has not purchased the property yet but the sale is under contract. They are doing soil testing and working with the city to determine if the property will work for the new dealership.
He said they are 30 to 60 days from finalizing the purchase, and then a demolition date will be set.
Members of the Facebook group expressed their feelings to one another about the theater being torn down, as well as shared memories of the distinctive dome-shaped structure nicknamed the "Dolly Parton."
"When I was 8, me and my best friend Greg worked all morning to go watch ‘Grease’ when it first came out," said Riverdale resident Mark Carlin.
"We paid for the first time and hid under the chairs and watched it two more times. That was one of my most prominent memories."
Carlin said he remembers when he was a kid and Riverdale Road was built up with the businesses it has today.
"I’m really bummed out because we lived in Riverdale when you could walk across Riverdale Road without looking," he said. "I don’t believe (the theater) should be torn down. It could be used for something."
Phil Herring, 25, said his dad took him to his first R-rated movie at the Cinedome 70.
"I was 12 or 13," he said. "He covered my eyes during a nudity scene."
Ogden resident Jennifer Neil said she saw "Aliens 3" in 1992 with a girlfriend at the theater.
"The guys (in the movie) decided they had to go gather up the dead bodies from the alien," she recalled. "At the same time, my girlfriend and I looked to each other and said, ‘Bring out your dead!’ like from the Monty
Python Theater, and the whole theater burst out laughing."
While the Facebook group has unified community members who wish to see the theater intact, or even reopened, the reality that the theater will still most likely be torn down was a sobering fact for Glines, who noticed stacked fencing placed in front of the building Friday.
"We’re just calling and writing and doing pretty much anything a group of individuals can do against a large corporation," he said.
"It worries me because they are a giant corporation, and corporations are only out for money. Cities are only out for tax revenue. I hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears."