Madison marquee lighting up controversy

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Madison Art Cinemas usually attracts attention for the movies listed on the marquee.

But now, the marquee itself is getting a lot of attention. The owner has installed a new LED marquee and some say it doesn’t fit well into the quaint downtown landscape.

When Arnold Gorlick first got the new electronic marquee, it took him a little time to get the hang of using it. During that time, people noticed.

“I thought it was out of step with the feel of this town with our walking street,” said Sara Labowe of Madison.

Gorlick says when he first brought the idea to the town, the Committee on Community Appearance wanted it to look like the old marquee. But in LED, black letters on white background doesn’t work, so the town suggested white letters on a black background.

“We’ll unbeknownst to me at the time but later on that’s what forwarded to Planning an Zoning,” said Gorlick. “It more than tripled the cost of the marquee.”

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That’s because to have white he needed to have a full color marquee which also came with full graphics. $30,000 later, he had a high-tech marquee for his Madison Art Cinemas.

“I just wanted to eliminate having to change the sign manually with carrying out a ladder in bad weather in wind, ice snow, and everything,” said Gorlick.

Planning and Zoning told him the graphics and animation like those used to celebrate the town’s Olympians violated his permit.

“I promised them I wouldn’t do any kind of animation but that Olympic thing was a gift I intended only for the afternoon,” said Gorlick. “It generated a great deal of unity and excitement.”

And criticism, so now he’s back to the black background with white letters.

“It’s definitely better than what it was when the flashing lights were there,” said Lynn Lindahl of Madison.

And Gorlick will head be back to the Planning and Zoning Commission seeking a new permit for the new technology.

“It makes it easier and maybe grabs your eye better when you’re walking by and you an actually see what’s playing,” said Heidi Roger. “Whereas the old lettering was a bit dingy looking in my opinion.”

Gorlick is hoping the marquee can be used to do more than advertise movie times. He would like to make it available to the town if it has an announcement to make.


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