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A big change glams up this beloved downtown Dayton theater, thanks to a $13,000 investment

A downtown destination is decidedly brighter these days. 

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The so fresh and so clean look at the Neon, 130 E Fifth St., is due to a revamp that’s long been on a wish list.  

The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton's new marquee was installed on Feb. 19, 2018. (Photo: Amelia Robinson) (Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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“We've been wanting a fresh and new marquee for several years, but other projects (digital projectors and new seats) were more of a priority because they directly related to the customer experience,” Neon manager Jonathan McNeal explained. 

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“Late last year, we finally decided that we were in a place where we could financially afford to do something purely cosmetic, something that would brighten up our entire intersection.” 

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The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton installed its new marquee on Feb. 19, 2018. Before photo (left) provided by the Neon. After photo by Amelia Robinson. (Photos: Neon movies and Amelia Robinson)

>> RELATED: Here’s how the Neon got its start 

McNeal and his team explored options including a “digital, razzle-dazzle sign” to a sign similar to its last sign. 
“Something flashy and HD might have been a little over-the-top for us. So we opted for a little old-school glam,” he said of the more than $13,000 project.  

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The new sign, designed by Toni Estevez of Kap Signs, has energy efficient, vintage-looking LED lightbulbs. 

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“The sign is also illuminated from behind,  thus making it truly glow at night, McNeal said.

All of the sconce lights around the Neon’s building will be replaced as part of the next project.  

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“The current lights are 31 years old, and some of them no longer work. Once replaced, we should be visible from space,” McNeal joked.

Originally known as the Dayton Movies, the theater now  known as the Neon opened Aug. 22, 1986.  

That theater closed on April 27, 1988, but reopened it the very next day as The Neon Movies. 

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The Neon movie theater, 130 E. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. (Photo source: Facebook) (HANDOUT)
Archived photo July 30, 1999. Curt Dalton produced a book called 'When Dayton Went to the Movies,' in which he writes about the days when Dayton had many movie theatres. Now The Neon Movies is the only theatre still in business. (Lisa Powell)
Achived photo from Feb. 11, 2006. Milly Hubler was a finalist in a jingle-writing contest sponsored by The Neon movie theater in Dayton. The contest was inspired by the film "The Prize-Winner of Defiance, Ohio." Photo by Judith Wolert-Maldonado (Judith Wolert-Maldonado/Judith Wolert-Maldonado)
The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton's new marquee was installed on Feb. 19, 2018. (Photo: Amelia Robinson) (Photo: Amelia Robinson)
The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton's new marquee was installed on Feb. 19, 2018. (Photo: Amelia Robinson) (Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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